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Archive for the year 2004

Permanent link to archive for 27/12/04.Mon, 27 December 2004

I did a little post holiday shopping today, I checked out the Apple store at Oak Brook center.  It was just packed, full of customers and items to sell.  It didn't look like there was any shortage of iPod's or other product.  I checked out the new iMac's, however I still like my lamp shade model.  And I spent some time on a dual 2.5Ghz system with a 30" panel display, trying out our virtual microscopy viewer on it.  I'll wait until the models come pre-installed with Tiger before I purchase my next Mac.  In the mean time I ended up buying the 250gb firewire drive I was searching for, a LaCie Porsche model that has the aluminum case.  This will keep my iMac running and backed up until I get my next Mac, I was just about out of disk space on the current one due to my music collection on iTunes, and my recent interest in video making using iMovie and iDVD.  Not to mention all the software development tools that I use.

By the way, I found ChronoSync to be a handy way to back up and synchronize my Macs using external drives.  I also have purchased their ImageCaster software, it is what I use with my iSight camera and the Java applet I developed for the web cam used on this web site.

Permanent link to archive for 23/12/04.Thu, 23 December 2004

I have been invited to join Team JR.  Looks like I will be a sponsored pilot in 2005.  This is the team I have really wanted to be a part of for some time now, excellent support for the R/C Soaring community, and a great bunch of people with the right attitude and skills.

I have been flying JR equipment for over 7 years now, and have always thought it was the best one could buy.  I can't see changing that anytime soon.


Permanent link to archive for 16/12/04.Thu, 16 December 2004

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it."  Alan Kay


Permanent link to archive for 11/12/04.Sat, 11 December 2004

Happy Birthday to Rae and myself, we share the same birthday and always seem to really enjoy it together, this year was no exception.

Kicked the evening off with a bottle of Joseph Perrier champagne and friends, and then we were all on our way to a concert.  A Christmas rock opera by Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  I didn't know what to expect, I have never seen them before, it's rare when something surprises me musically anymore, but this did.  Probably the best light, laser, pyrotechnics I have ever seen, they even made it snow inside on the audience and shot a laser show through it, the snow flakes making sparkles as the laser beams pierced them in flight.  The musicians were fantastic, and kept cycling on and off the stage as needed.  There was an orchestra in back, but basically a rock band or an R&B band in front at different times, with a spoken narrative story line weaving between the songs.  The vocals varied from rock to gospel and opera...  male or female lead singers depending on the song.  The female opera singer out powering the four electric guitar players really caught my ear, I need to buy the CD with that track on it.

At one point a guitar player jumped on stage with a double barrel guitar like Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin, and the music quickly shifted from Christmas songs to the Immigrant Song from Led Zeppelin, put a tingle down your spine you would have sworn Zeppelin was on stage, and as quickly as they had the crowd on their feet to that beat, they shifted directions and were rocking Beethoven out in a classy way.

It was just one heck of a show, even technically it amazed me how they were synchronizing so many lights, lasers, flame blasters, snow and fireworks to the tightly performed music.  Check out the schedule on their web page, they are on tour, very different, highly recommended.

Permanent link to archive for 09/12/04.Thu, 09 December 2004

I got mentioned on Boing Boing today, that's pretty cool!


Permanent link to archive for 06/12/04.Mon, 06 December 2004

The Animal Planet web site has a feature on Bird Technology, where they have fitted some micro video cameras on the shoulders of an Eagle.  These are majestic soaring birds, I have had the opportunity to see them soar in person, I have shared thermals with them flying my R/C gliders, and to see them in these video clips was just fascinating.

Video camera on an Eagles shoulders


Permanent link to archive for 04/12/04.Sat, 04 December 2004

Two years ago today I started this blog.  I've had a personal web site for much longer, but the blog format has seemed to work out well.  Onward!


Permanent link to archive for 20/11/04.Sat, 20 November 2004

I went out yesterday with the Chicago Crew for some WhirlyBall.  This was my second time so I knew what to expect and was a little better at playing, but I felt like I had a target on my back!  These guys drive like maniacs.  I really got slammed several times during the evening.


Permanent link to archive for 16/11/04.Tue, 16 November 2004

I saw the Pixies perform at the Aragon Brawlroom this evening, what a fantastic concert.  They sold out 5 nights in Chicago, and now I can understand why.  They have been gigging almost every night since April 13 on this tour, that has got to be some hard work.  I was not fortunate enough to see the Pixies before they broke up years ago, (probably working the evening they were in the city).   I have appreciated their music ever since they put out the first album, I was an fan in the early 90's.  However, I did see Frank Black play in Chicago in a special performance with Joey Santiago on guitar, good, but not as good as what I saw tonight. 

This evening was quite a performance, hit after hit in succession, and many of the songs were shadowed over the crowd singing and yelling the lyrics.  It was a slightly older crowd too, people my age... it was interesting to watch this group of people rock out, let loose a little and have fun.


Permanent link to archive for 10/11/04.Wed, 10 November 2004

The COOLSCOPE VS was mentioned in Advanced Imaging, cool!

Permanent link to archive for 31/10/04.Sun, 31 October 2004

Happy Halloween

A beautiful fall day, perfect day to take the vette out in the crisp air.  And that is just what I had planned to do today, the Chicago Crew was going to meet at Dave & Busters and cruise to Hooters for some lunch.  Everytime I see these guys cars I am amazed, these are some of the nicest Corvettes you might ever see, and they are not garage queens, these guys drive them hard.  Modern American muscle cars.  A nice group of guys, and Sniedley was there too, we share both the vette/soaring interests.

Here are a few pictures I shot during the day.

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Hooter girls posing on my Z06.


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A very fast convertible, slammed, heads and cams and more...


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A 383 twin turbo Z06 with custom targa top, tiger shark front end and interior, not slow...


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Chicago Crew Corvettes


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Chicago Crew Corvettes

As usual, you can click on any of the pictures above to enlarge them.  I have also been learning more about digital video editing on both my iMac and Windows, and getting a bit more creative with my Sony miniDV camera.  Check out My Corvette web page and scroll down to the Video links to see some of my car videos.


Permanent link to archive for 30/10/04.Sat, 30 October 2004

My wifes older sister Ruth and a good friend of mine (and soaring buddy), Robin Meek were married today.

Congratulations to both of you!


Permanent link to archive for 21/10/04.Thu, 21 October 2004

The 2004 Nats issue of Model Aviation has hit the streets.  Once again I wrote the annual Nats RC Soaring column, and was a photographer for the week of the RC Soaring National Championships.  I was also a competitor that took home 4 trophies, it was quite a week.  The whole activity wraps a bunch of things I like to do together for instance spending quality time with good friends, soaring, photography, and writing.


Permanent link to archive for 15/10/04.Fri, 15 October 2004

Click to enlargeI was in Dallas last weekend for the R/C Soaring TNT competition, and as you can see from the picture I have a big smile on my face.  I am the new TNT champion and the trophy comes back up to Chicago for the third year in a row now, Tom Kallevang and Jim McCarthy also of SOAR being previous champions.  The model I was flying was a 73 oz. ICON Lite with all JR digital servos, and the JR 10X transmitter.

Henry Bostick has been coming up to our SOAR Fred Fredrickson Memorial contest for years now and inviting us all down.  TK and Jim McCarthy have been going down to the TNT for about the same amount of times, telling us the stories of all the good times, and that must have rubbed off on Capn' Jack, Ron Kukral and myself as we all made the trip this year.  The contest is held at Southfork Ranch, that's where much of the TV show Dallas was filmed, JR's ranch. 

This was certainly a cool place for a contest.  Here is a link to a small Photo Gallery.

Capn' Jack and I timed for each other at the Nats this year and that was successful for both of us, we had the opportunity to do the same over the TNT weekend.  On Friday Henry lent me an OLY II so I could fly in the RES contest.  This was actually quite fun, the OLY II was a good flying model for the conditions at hand, and Jack and I got a chance to check out the winches and fields.  I think I placed 8th with that lil'OLY, and managed to place ahead of a bunch of high tech RES models. 

The SLNT club has 3 strong winches on trailers, with retrievers.  The fly an open window of 45 minutes to get a round in, you just go do it as soon as you can get your frequency pin.  Saturday morning was hazy, too much good food and drink, not enough sleep, rainy weather... ugh.  Jack and I drove to the field early in the morning, two large coffee's and a 4 pack of RedBull.  We patiently waited for the weather to clear,  I decided to take a nap in the rental car with my model placed under the car to keep it dry.  Half asleep I hear some guy say "hey that's a sweet ICON dude, can I take it".  I knew it was someone messing with me and I replied to the effect of "you better freekin' run fast".  I woke up to see it was my old friend Bruce Hobbs, he had driven in from Austin to watch us fly.

Finally the weather cleared up and we started to contest.  Soon as the opened I flew, landed and then we did Jack's flight, bang - bang.  It was good to fly and we nailed our flights.  We continued to jump up and fly our tasks as soon as Henry opened the round, we wanted to fly.  I remember the 9 minute round later in the day being difficult, really having to work hard for the last 3 minutes surfing on the other side of a treeline several hundred yards upwind of the landing zone, at about twice the tree height.  Capn' Jack got himself into the same situation on the next flight and out flew me, he lasted about 3 and half minutes over those trees!  That's the kinda stuff that happens when we fly together, we fly the same type of model, much the same style, and see and make rapid decisions with confidence. 

I was not really paying attention to the scores, we were flying rounds back to back very rapidly and generally speaking I knew we were doing OK, just like at Nats, a small mistake here or there but OK.  I was surprized to find out I won on Saturday, that was totally unexpected.  However I was not surprized to see so many SOAR pilots in the top five taking home some wood, we were flying strong:

1) Bacus, Jim  2) McCarthy, Jim  4) Strother, Jack  5) Kallevang, Tom  25) Richmond, Don  28) Kukral, Ron

Henry is an unbelievable host.  He has one of the most awesome BBQ's that I have ever seen.  Not only did we have fun flying, but the evenings were a blast too with extremely good food and drink.

Sunday the weather was even worse, overcast with a very low ceiling, maybe 500 foot.  At least it wasn't raining.  Henry wanted to get at least three rounds and the weather wasn't going to get any better so we went at it at high pace.  I backed off my first launch and still went completely invisible on the zoom.  I pushed forward and my ICON dove out of the clouds about where I expected, pulled back to regain altitude and went invisible again, and repeated this cycle about a half dozen times until the zoom energy was burnt off.  It was bouyant at cloud base, it was just a matter of keeping the model visible for the task time and nailing the landings.  My ICON was a shadow in the mist most of the time.  I think I was several seconds late to every landing on Sunday, I was flying conservatively making sure I got as much as the landing tape I could.  Despite this, Jack was killing me on the tape just jamming his ICON into the soft turf in a rude fashion that seems abusive to the model but the ICON is strong and can take it, so he does it.  I was keeping an eye on the SLNT guys feeling that they would be out flying strong on their home field today.  I could see that Jay Schultz, Henry, and  Mark "chia skeg" Willams were also really nailing the tape.  In the end it was a very close scoring contest with Sundays results from memory (I will link to official scores when I see them):

1) Schultz, Jay (SLNT),  2) Strother, Jack (SOAR),  3) Bostwick, Henry (SLNT) , 4) Williams, Mark (SLNT), 5) Bacus, Jim (SOAR)

I want to thank all of the SLNT club members for really putting on a fun contest, I will be back next year for sure.

P.S.  I finished up my LSF V win tasks, hoo yah!  8-)  Only two more tasks to complete the journey.


Permanent link to archive for 04/10/04.Mon, 04 October 2004

Congratulations to the SpaceShipOne team for winning the Ansari X Prize for private space travel today around 8 a.m.

This is so big on so many levels, it shows the world that American inventors and ingenuity are as strong as ever.  I really can appreciate guys who go out and solve problems that others claim are impossible.

Permanent link to archive for 25/09/04.Sat, 25 September 2004

Jim McCarthy and I had our 9303's out at the SOAR Hampshire field today, Jim was setting up his Fazer and I was setting up an ICON lite.

Jim (yelling across the field): "How do you turn off Aileron-Flap mix in landing mode"
Me (yelling back): "I'm not sure"  (mine doesn't have it on)
Jim: "So what you are telling me is you are no help to me..."
Me: "I didn't say I couldn't help you..."  8-)

Looking over Jimbo's shoulder we enter the AIL->FLP M menu and I see he has CRU and BTF switched on, I tell him to turn off BTF and he has a big smile on his face.  We both range check our radios and walk out to the winch.

I get a normal launch, but I am more sensitive on the ailerons than I am used to and my landing mode is ballooning like crazy.  It doesn't help we are flying in gusty conditions with major helpings of schmeg.  Everyone is leaving their models in the tall grass, well, except for TK. 

The response of this radio seems a little quicker than my 10x, Jim thinks it's fast too, I am not sure why it seems like that.  I start dialing in my model, I appreciate the ease of use on the field with it.  I am trying out 100% diff in launch mode, a suggestion from Mike Lachowski.  Wow, that is different, I see the idea.  I also work my way up to 100% aileron rudder mix in that configuration so that the right stick is very effective.  Every landing I don't have to stretch my way home I dial in the landing compensation a little more.  Slowly but surely I am getting my new 9303 to feel like I expect it to with a known model.  I need some more time on it before I can confidently contest with it.

Craig, I intentionally left the 9303's LCD panel in the sun while I took a lunch break.  Came back out to fly and I had to dim the contrast a bit, it did get darker, but it was easily controlled.

Hans, the 10x is still a very capable radio.  I could probably make identical setups (scratching head), but it is just simpler on the 9303.  Flight Modes are not new, but I like the way they are implemented on the 9303.

It has been fun exchanging email about setups with everyone, I have been learning some new tricks, and it has been forcing me to try things on the radio I wouldn't have otherwise taken on so quickly.

I put 2:08 of flying in on the 9303 today, and had the opportunity to range check it pretty decently at altitude.

I am still liking this radio quite a bit.

Permanent link to archive for 24/09/04.Fri, 24 September 2004

A 2m ICON?

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Permanent link to archive for 23/09/04.Thu, 23 September 2004

The new JR XP9303 sailplane computer radio, part 2

OK, I like this radio a lot.  I am going to lead off here with a really strong statement, I am going to switch all my competition ships over from the 10x to the 9303.  The 10x has served me so well I find it strange to say that.  There is nothing wrong with the 10x and I will continue to use it on my scale aerotow models where I can utilize the extra channel.

I had a full F3J/TD setup done for my ICON Lite, first use of the radio in about a hour and a half, and that includes getting snagged on the old version of the manual.  No custom program mixes used.  The only thing I don't have implemented is the way I had my butterfly setup on the 10x, 1st  one third of the landing(throttle) stick caused full trailing edge camber, at one half throttle stick my ailerons are neutral, and full deflection my ailerons crow.  I am going to try to figure that one out...

I keep finding all kinds of neat things about the software, how cool is MONITOR mode?    I really like the way this software is organized, this was well thought out.  By the way, here is a link to the user manual which is online.

OK, nothing is perfect, right?  I think the Launch, Cruise, Land switch is upside down, and I know how to fix that.  Cal convinced me I need a larger battery for my 8 hour slope, so I figure I would upgrade one of those 2100mah units eventually.

Also I would like to thank John Diniz, John Adams and Peter Goldsmith for the top notch customer support during my early learning curve on the 9303.  These guys reply to their emails quickly, and they always have an answer for me.

I can't wait to go fly this radio this weekend!

Permanent link to archive for 22/09/04.Wed, 22 September 2004

I would like to welcome JoJo Grini's Diary to my blog links on the left.  JoJo has some of the best pictures and writing on the subject of R/C soaring on the Internet.  Enjoy!

P.S.  Hey JoJo, you really could use an RSS feed my friend.

Permanent link to archive for 21/09/04.Tue, 21 September 2004

The new JR XP9303 sailplane computer radio

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I received the new JR XP9303 sailplane computer radio (9303) from Horizon Hobby yesterday, and got to start using it right after work.  My first impression is that I want to compare it to my 10x, which is only because that is what I fly now, I am sure it is not meant by JR to compete with this model of transmitter.  Just for history I own or have owned a JR Max, JR 783, JR 8103, JR 10sx (heli), JR 10x, and the JR 9303.  (Actually the 8103 is the only one I don't have anymore).

Before you jump in you have to consider some things, first off the servo mapping is different than previous JR models.  Actually what they did makes more sense, and allows 6 channel RX's to be used for 6 channel models.  But, more than likely this means you will have to change some servo plugs around at your RX if you are changing from another TX.  I turned on my 10x one more time, and marked my stab position with a pencil on the fuse so I could recenter it easily after I fired up the 9303.  In my case, I am moving an ICON Lite from the 10x to the 9303 and I had to pull the left aileron plug from Gear and move it to Throttle, I had to move right Flap from Aux 1 and move it to Gear, and I had to move left Flap from Aux 2 to Aux 1.  You have to give a little to get a lot, this is a template based programming system and the program expects these channels to be at those spots.   I thought about cross mixing the other channels so I could move back and forth from the 10x, but I don't want to mess with the simplicity of the 9303 programming at this time, so I chose to go with the flow of the design and not fight it.

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Shown above is the main menu, you can scroll through it with the thumb wheel on the right side and select by depressing the wheel.  This is really fast, blows the 10x numbered menu system away.  It sounds like a caffeinated cricket when rolling through choices.   This software is the best I have ever seen on a computer radio, it is easily navigated, and if you follow the template design of flight modes, you will get a very sophisticated setup without a lot of effort.  I flew through the setup last night until I tried to find the CAMBER ADJ and CAMBER MIX menus.  Hmm, not there.  Up to the computer and Tom Copp of had an email sitting in my inbox asking the same thing and if I was up.  "Ya, I am up, and doing the same thing as you are... give me a call."  So we talked about it a bit, both of us were stumped and fired off emails to John Diniz at JR.  John got back to us first thing this morning, it turns out the manuals need a revision to catch up with the new software on the TX, so instead of CAMBER MIX, use Flaprn MX, and instead of CAMBER ADJ, use FM Delay.  The same functionality is there, the names are just different. 

I just got the answer to that this morning, so I will have to finish my setup this evening.  I did see camber start to work, but I need more time to get it right.  I have not had to design a custom mix to this point, which is really impressive.  There is some fancy stuff I may try do to that I implemented on my 10x, but I want to get basic functionality first.  It looks to me that a full house sailplane can be setup with out using the additional program mixers, which in the end gives me more flexibility than my 10x.

Things that made me smile, general ease of use and ergonomics, Sub Trim adjustment with the thumb wheel, the new tones that the digital trims make, very easy to understand, the additional timer so I can run a countdown and a stopwatch from the TX, and the template design that really makes it simple to maintain the unique flight modes, and the flight screen has more information with a cleaner layout.

More on the 9303 later...

Permanent link to archive for 16/09/04.Thu, 16 September 2004

Every now and then someone asks me what I am using as a skeg on my ICON, this time it was the WinchDoc and I knew it was time for a picture and a blog.  Here's a neat little setup I have been using for about one season now, easy to obtain, easy to make, easy to mount and remove (I fly F3J too), and is very effective.  I only use this nose skeg, I do not use a belly skeg.

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Start with a Tim McCann Tape On Skeg, shave off the post and cut down the blade as shown on the picture above.  I like to first attach the skeg with some wing tape (that won't pull off the paint on the nosecone), and then use strapping tape over that.  If you don't use strapping tape you will shear the skeg off on landing, thus shedding parts and not helping your landing score at all.  With a proper landing approach, this will stop my ICON dead in its tracks where ever I place the nose on the ground.

Permanent link to archive for 03/09/04.Fri, 03 September 2004

Downers Grove Corvette Night

Like many of the suburbs around Chicagoland, during the summer months Friday night is cruise night, and today it was Corvette night in the town where I live.  The weather was beautiful, perfect evening to take the Z06 for a spin and meet some of the people from

We cruised the main strip, then double backed and cruised down the Corvette strip where I was waved into a reserved Corvette parking place, a great spot.  I popped the hood, we sat down and talked to people for a bit.  Then we walked around town checking out all the nice rides, just as many cruising through as there were parked.

Stopped at the Irish pub and had some good beer, (I wish I could remember the name but I had never had it before), and dinner.  Then continued on checking out cars back to our original parking spot.  We decided to cruise the strip again and found all the guys parked down by the railroad tracks so we parked down there and checked out an entire new set of rides.

Here are a few pictures from this evening...

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My Z06 on the main Corvette strip


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An import model revving his engine behind my Z


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Not hers!


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Rides parked along the main Corvette strip


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I spotted my neighbors car parked on main street


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Jason's highly modified 1998 Coupe


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Tommy and Jason's rides


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Permanent link to archive for 01/09/04.Wed, 01 September 2004

 Bacus Labs released WebSlide Browser v3.7 today, which is a software application that I have been developing for many years now.  This software is basically a web browser with custom designed functionality for viewing virtual microscope slides, which allows your personal computer to function as a powerful digital microscope.  This new version of software features support for the new COOLSCOPE VS.

I always like working on this application, it's large but very clean and well designed.  The software has a surprising amount of functionality, besides my daily use for virtual microscopy, I use it as a light duty web browser due to its very small size, multimedia capabilities and speed.  The other thing I enjoy about it is that I can share it with anybody easily, it's free to download, have a look.


Permanent link to archive for 28/08/04.Sat, 28 August 2004

My name finally came up on the Maple Leaf Design ICON build list, the day before I left for Nats.  I wasn't able to contact Don Peters until I returned home, but I had some new ideas about how I wanted my next laid up and painted.

After a pleasant conversation with Don, I decided to have my next ICON laid up as a F3J TD wing, not the light wing.  I have two light layup wings at the moment, I wanted to have a TD wing in the quiver that was a bit stiffer.

I still wanted a model that was lime green over magenta, I can see that color very well, and I have lots of ICON parts that are those colors.  But I wanted to modify the paint job on the wing tip, I wanted something that would really jump out and catch the eye and be highly visible.  So I thought about the paint fades that Don had been doing for guys, fired up PhotoShop and started coloring a picture I had of a green wing tip.  I put a mask line in the design so I could a high contrast of colors, and used two separate fades.  The ends of the tips are faded orange to red, and at the mask line is the darker forest green faded into the lime green to the root of the tip, just to make that orange jump off the wing even better.

I sent Don this computer image of what I wanted, and he said he could do it.

Initial tip paint design done in PhotoShop

Well, last night Don sent me an email and said a big box was ready to ship to me, and attached a digital picture of my new wing tip.

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The final design painted in the mold

The fades are a little more subtle than in my computer rendition, but I am still very pleased with the results.  (You can click on the image to enlarge it, the fades can be seen better that way).  I highly recommend working with Don Peters at Maple Leaf Designs.  I have bought a number of hand made sailplanes from his company, his products and customer support are the best in the industry.  

I can't wait to see it in person, with the entire model assembled.  And there is more to this story...  but that will be another blog entry in the future!


Permanent link to archive for 26/08/04.Thu, 26 August 2004

There are a couple of screen shots of the new COOLSCOPE VS suite on


Permanent link to archive for 21/08/04.Sat, 21 August 2004

3 LSF IV's do 2 hour TD, one new LSF V

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Two Hour Boys - Steve Meyer, Wayne Fredette, and Jim Bacus

That's right...
3 LSF IV's do the 2 hour TD task, one new LSF V after it's all said and done.  It happened at SOAR's Hampshire field today, just outside of Chicago.

Conditions were nice, the sky was completely blue, no clouds, big lift and big sink, had to get high and stay high, if possible.

Wayne Fredette, Steve Meyer and I successfully completed two hour thermal flights today, working towards our V.  For Wayne, this was the last task he needed to make level V.

CONGRATULATIONS to Wayne Fredette!!!  (I looked at his LSF V voucher card and he has dates going back to 1987)

Wayne flew a Chicago Style with a Picolario mounted in it today, and made two attempts, one for 1:15 in the morning, he recharged and went 2:05 on his second flight to make it, he was the last to land.

Steve flew an SBXC with an FMA copilot mounted on it and a Talking Telario inside it and cruised upwards of 1000m during his flight, he always seemed high through his entire flight.  Steve made it in one attempt, and was the first to land and accomplish the two hour TD today.

I flew my lightest ICON lite with a Picolario mounted in the ballast tube.  I made it on my third attempt, my first two flights went for about 3 minutes a piece, and I cursed at myself for flying so stupid.  On the third flight I got hammered at the start too, picked off a tight little thermal at 28' off a tree line and worked my way up to Meyer.  I ventured over 2,100' twice today, and had to save it once more from around 240' (thanks TK for the call to the barn) and worked it back out again.  2:01:01 and I was finished, about 45 minutes after Steve.  The 1250mah nicad battery pack in my ICON was at 5.5v at landing, my JR 10x was still at 9.8v.

It was a really cool day, I am beat up from flying that long but excited none the less.  I really enjoy knocking down those hard LSF task with my buddies, especially doing them together like that.

Thanks to TK, Don Smith, Wes Gibson, and Charley Schmitz for their help today.

Permanent link to archive for 16/08/04.Mon, 16 August 2004

This Nikon press release for the COOLSCOPE VS hit the streets today.

Under the What's New section at is the new COOLSCOPE VS web page.

Now I can start talking about what I have been working so hard on for the past 10 months!  And it really is special.





Permanent link to archive for 31/07/04.Sat, 31 July 2004

Nats 2004 - RES and Nostalgia class

Photo Gallery

We woke up to rain again, I have never seen it rain so many days in Muncie during a Nats.  I stopped at drug store on the way out to the field; I needed some fresh rubber bands to mount the wing on my twenty something year old WindDrifter I intended on flying in Nostalgia and RES.  When I arrived at the field some people who had been in Muncie all week long were getting tired of waiting on rain and decided to just start their travels home a bit earlier.  But the AMA HQ was saying the weather was going to clear, and they were correct!

By about 10am I could tell we were going to fly, and the weather just kept getting better as the day progressed.  This was going to turn into the best weather day this event day has ever seen.  The winds were light, the thermals were abundant, and everyone who waited to fly was treated to one of those special "gas bag" days.  I specked my WindDrifter out twice today, I hadn't specked my ICON out in the past two days.  The pace was steady and laid back, but when we went to round 4, a place this event has never been before things started slowing down a bit as guys started getting tired.  Yet another day this week where despite the weather looking bad in the morning, we got a whole lot of flying in.

C.D. Tom Kallevang awarded the National Champion trophy in RES to Troy Lawicki, in second place was Brian Smith, and in third place was a very good junior pilot from Michigan, Kevin Steen.

In the Nostalgia event C.D. Mike McGowan awarded the National Champion trophy to Steve Siebenaler, in second place was Tom Scully, and in third place was Ed Wilson.  When Steve won this contest, he also completed his last task to complete his LSF level V.  This brought about massive cheers and celebration, as Steve has been looking for this win for some time.

It is a Nats tradition that a group of us celebrate the end of the week with a special dinner.  Usually this happens at Vincent's at the airport, but this year it was at a Sushi restaurant that JT found earlier in the week.  Steve's level V accomplishment was the spotlight of the evening, and we had enough people to fill two large tables.  They treated us like kings in this place, broke out some special Sake that the chefs mother home brews with ginseng in it, and the Sushi was surprisingly good.

It is always a pleasure to observe the all volunteer crew, veterans and new people alike, work together as a team to produce one of the best soaring contests year after year.  Not enough can be said about volunteers that travel here just to help make this event happen, and work hard all week.  People like Marna and Larry Jefferies, Marna makes the impound run like clockwork, it dictates the flow of a contest, and Larry keeps all the winches and launch equipment running all week, both of these are thankless tasks.  People like Sheldon Smith who works the winch turn arounds and organizes the kids retrieving lines, and he makes sure everyone has fun while doing so.  And to the entire LSF board, who I know have put countless hours into the small details that need to be completed on schedule with an event of this magnitude.  To all the people that give time to pull this week of premiere contesting off, thank you.  The work you do makes this event so special to so many people each year, whether they had the opportunity to attend or not.


Permanent link to archive for 30/07/04.Fri, 30 July 2004

Nats 2004 - Unlimited class, day 2

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C.D. Dennis Adamisin wanted an early start today, so I set the alarm a half hour earlier and got on my way.  I think we were within 15 minutes of when he wanted to start, that wasn't too bad for such a large group of pilots.  The weather forecast was to have a mostly sunny day, which would cloud up towards the evening as another small front approached.  The wind was to gradually increase during the day as well.

Josh Glaab was tearing it up, he clearly was in the zone and nailing his task times and landings.  Daryl Perkins and Mike Smith were just one little landing bobble away in points, and through about 17th place pilots were maybe one to two mistakes away from the top.  And the weather was not making this a landing contest, in many rounds it was last man down.  There was a pretty consistent long cycle of conditions, from good to bad and back to good again. 

As the day progressed, it clouded over and conditions began to flatten out.  This was that late in the afternoon flying again, where the conditions tend to really soften.  It was time for a "lap around Muncie" as Joe Wurts would call it.  Basically that is flying about as smooth as you can and flying a huge box pattern to the limits of your vision, making just three 90 degree turns and back to land, unless you scored a little lift, wave or buoyant air to loiter upon along the way.  The last two rounds were fairly intense, and the names on the scoreboard were beginning to change positions quite a bit.  In the last round, Josh missed the landing costing him first place. The new National Champion in unlimited class sailplanes for 2004 is Mike Smith flying a Sharon, in second was Daryl Perkins' flying the Sheer Insanity of his design, and in third place was Josh Glaab flying a Tsunami.

Here is a link to the final results:  Final Results

The evening was capped by an enjoyable awards banquet.  There was a great raffle (thanks to everyone that donated) where everybody won something.  The Hi Johnson award which is given to the pilot with the highest combined score in 2m and unlimited class was awarded to Daryl Perkins.  The Dan Pruss team award which is given to the team of three pilots in the same club whose combined ranking in the results of 2m and unlimited class competition are added together, and the team with the lowest score wins.  The SOAR 1 team consisting of Tom Kallevang, Steve Meyer, and I were the first SOAR club team to ever win this award.  The prestigious Le Gray award was presented to Jim Thomas.

Permanent link to archive for 29/07/04.Thu, 29 July 2004

Nats 2004 - Unlimited class, day 1

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One hundred and one pilots gathered for the pilots meeting early Thursday morning, C.D. Dennis Adamisin was ready to get things rolling.  The only brand new model I have seen is Daryl Perkins' new Sheer Insanity design, it's hard to miss it, it is so large.  The weather wasn't as nice as it was yesterday, it was cool out again, a bit overcast and a bit windy, it was going to be some interesting flying to be sure.

We started out with an 8 minute task again, and went directly to 10 minute tasks in later rounds.  There may have been a 12 minute thrown in there in one round.  In the forth round I happened to be flying with Mike Smith, (it seemed like I flew a lot of rounds with Mike Smith, which was fun) and Daryl was timing for him.  We were standing in the pilot staging area and Daryl has a long slow look at my lime green over magenta ICON lite and says, "Jim, you must be a pretty good pilot."  I looked at him and I knew something was coming but I just listened.  He continued, "I remember when I was surfing a lot, I would go down to the beach and there would be all these dudes hanging out with the fluorescent colored boards, and the fluorescent colored suits... and they couldn't surf at all.  So you must be pretty good to have a model colored like Barney."  We all busted out laughing.  Like I said, it is fun flying with these guys.

I have to say those 10 minute plus rounds after 5pm really get a pilots attention, it reminds me so much of F3J, and I don't think guys tend to practice much at that time of day.  Do I have to mention the scores are tight after the first day?

It was going to be a pizza on the veranda night at the Roberts Hotel, an appropriate choice for the day.  This is an occasion where most of the pilots that are staying there have a stack pizzas delivered and we devour them outside on the veranda.  Just as I started unloading the gear in the parking lot at the hotel, Marty rode up on his new black '04 Electra Glide with a huge smile on his face.  I said, "Marty, nice Hoosier eve for a ride, huh?"  He threw me the keys and I got to take a very pleasant putt around Muncie, what a treat.  Got back to the hotel for pizza, unpacked the truck much later on in the evening.  It was another very long but fun day.


Permanent link to archive for 28/07/04.Wed, 28 July 2004

Nats 2004 - 2m class, day 2

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The sun was out and bright today, the heat actually felt pleasant.  We usually get cooked by the heat of Muncie summer weather, but not this year.  Again, we started the day rolling with an 8 minute task, but flew 10 minute tasks most of the day.  Today the pace was rapid, and as far as competition goes it was all about making those landings and not making any mistakes with these smaller sailplanes.  There was some very skillful flying going on between Daryl Perkins, Troy Lawicki and Joe Wurts, their scores were so tight.  The top page of the score sheet was tight as well with lots of pilots flying very strong, as you would expect at a Nats.

We flew a long day today as the weather was the best most of us had seen all week, and we got in seven rounds.  We always seem to get a lot of rounds in during 2m competition, and I think it is great practice and mental preparation for the next two days of unlimited competition.

During the later part of the day, a new group of pilots start showing up at the field, the pilots that traveled in just for the unlimited competition.  So there is another reunion of pilots and friends going on, and the awards ceremony is just that much larger at the end of the day.  C.D. Jack Iafret awarded the National Championship trophy to Daryl Perkins who was flying a Laser 2MC, in second place was Troy Lawicki who was flying a 2m Duck of his design, and in third place was Joe Wurts flying an Image.

Here is a link to the final results:  Final Results

This is an evening where there is always a lot of action on the field after the contest.  Many guys want to put their unlimited models up in the air, re-adjust to the larger models, shoot some landings, fun fly, etc...  Jack and I put out TK's winch and flew our ICON lite models.  The landing zone felt much better with the larger model, Gordy and I shot a few landings side by side and Gordy decided we tied.  We were nailing the landing tape repeatedly.  Peter Goldsmith was also out, and watching me land.  He was impressed how my ICON was stopping right where I put my nose on the ground, and had to examine the nose of my model.  He exclaimed, "I need one of those Jabbers!"  I busted a gut laughing, I had never heard a skeg called a jabber but it certainly was appropriate.  I showed him how I modified a Tim McCann belly skeg to be a nose skeg, and to use strapping tape to hold it on.  We flew until dark, it was a very fun day.

Permanent link to archive for 27/07/04.Tue, 27 July 2004

Nats 2004 - 2m class, day 1

Photo Gallery

The weather pushed through and it looked like we could fly with perhaps minimal if no rain delays today.  As usual at the start of a two day event, we start with a rather long pilots meeting.  For the second year in a row, the C.D. Jack Iafret decided to allow a throw out round in 2m competition, if we completed more than 12 rounds over the two days.  And today the pilots' meeting was even a little longer because they awarded the F3B trophies this morning as well.  Daryl Perkins was awarded the National Championship trophy for F3B, Tom Kiesling placed second and Joe Wurts placed in third.

The first round of the day started with 8 minutes, but we usually flew 10 minute rounds throughout the day.  The first thing that surprised me even though I inspected them is how deep the landing zone cones were.  In my first group, nobody maxed the 8 minute task, and as I scratched around the corner of the cone to make a legal entry, I didn't have enough altitude to get back to the landing tape and took a zero landing, and so did a bunch of guys in my group.  I wouldn't let that happen again for the rest of the week, and I felt no pity when pilots who were low on altitude cut the cones to make their tape, only to get zeroed on the landing by an official.  A landing zone like this is proper when there are so many models making landings simultaneously.  The last thing one wants is a model cutting across a number of pilots landing zones so he can make his tape, which is a recipe for a mid air.

Extremely variable weather, a little cooler and tougher than previous years and I think that was fun.  The pace of the contest started slow, but as everyone began to mesh together the pace rapidly picked up and we completed six rounds.  No rain today, the first dry day this week.  Joe Wurts put on an entertaining show of flying a toy R/C UFO under the main tent at lunch that Jack Strother brought out at an appropriate moment. 

(I have that on video, I need to put it online here)


Permanent link to archive for 26/07/04.Mon, 26 July 2004

Nats 2004 - HLG

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I really wanted to participate in the HLG event this season, but my work schedule at my business prevented me from getting any models built in time.  It was all I could do to make sure I had models for the two day events.  None the less, I was on the field timing for all of Steve Meyer's rounds, and taking pictures when I could.

For the last three years, the HLG contest always seems to get the worst weather.  It rained hard, it lightly rained, sometimes for a few minutes it stopped raining, but we were all soaked.  A couple of transmitters were damaged from the rain.  Guys were tipping their models tail downward after rounds to drain the water out.  Early in the contest Joe Wurts broke the tail boom on his Encore during a launch, that round was costly for Joe.  Bruce Davidson, another lefty, had a Photon II that he lent to Joe for the remainder of the contest.  Bruce flew strong the entire contest, I really like being around Bruce at contests, he really has a good attitude.  Mike Smith was really flying strong too, no surprise I guess, he really was flying well the other day when I was watching F3B.

C.D. Marc Gellart, used the entire day to slip rounds in between the rain as best as he could, we finished late but the pilots sure did look like they had a good time none the less.  Bruce Davidson wins the national championship flying an XP4, Mike Smith in second also flying an XP4, and Joe Wurts finished the day flying a Photon II to third place.

Here is a link to the final results:  Final Results


Permanent link to archive for 25/07/04.Sun, 25 July 2004

Nats 2004 Winch and Scale Aerotow, F3B - day 2

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Woke up Sunday morning and it was raining.  No rush to get to the field, hit the drive thru at Mc D's and snagged a #3 with a large coffee, and drove out to the field.  The rain just got worse as I drove down Memorial drive.  When I arrived at the parking lot by the aerotow flightline everyone was either still in their vehicles or under the main tent, so I sat in my car and ate my breakfast.  After awhile Hartmut came by to visit and we talked about what he did for a living, a mechanical engineer by trade, working up in Michigan on automobile turbocharger projects.  He had worked on the new Corvette "Blue Devil" project, the new Z06, and obviously that got my attention.  CD Dennis Adamisin held a pilots meeting and said he was going to not call the contest, and was going to hold up because it was supposed to clear up in the afternoon.  Many people left, but I just hung around and talked to people, and went over and watched the F3B guys some more.

The F3B pilots took a break to eat lunch, so I joined them under the main tents.  As the afternoon approached you could see it was going to clear up, people started finishing up their lunches so the flying could begin.  I figured if the F3B folk were itching to fly, so would the aerotow guys so I headed back over there.

Sure enough, scale models were being assembled, some were already on the tarmac waiting to be launched.  Johnny was no where to be found at the moment, so Jack's and my tug was put into action, TK was tug pilot, I believe it was Skip that was up into the sky first.  Skip went right to work on the X/C closed course.  Capn' Jack put his Ventus up next, and I was about to fly my DG 800s when Peter Goldsmith came over and introduced himself and struck up a conversation with me.  I told him how excited I was with all this and really was impressed with the larger models Skip and he were flying.  Without hesitation he offered me a 1/3 ASK-18, and said, "you fly a 10x, right", yup.  He hooked his TX to mine with the DSC cable and transferred the ASK-18 program to my TX and said go have fun.  I must have had a blank look on my face, he said "you can't hurt it, it is simple to fly, besides, if you do it's not mine, you will have to deal with my wife."  I chuckled, and I think he was serious; he has a keen smile and accent.

The ASK-18 seemed very simple, rudder, elevator, spoilers, ailerons and tow release, that is it.  And it was much bigger than my model, this has to be good.  Johnny was back on the scene with his Pegasus and gave me a tow.  It was a very simple model to fly, heck it flew great, big slow and stable.  Shot a nice landing and asked Peter if he minds if I took it out on the X/C course, and he doesn't mind a bit.  I do and take the longest run I have all weekend, 3.4 miles.  Excellent, I am very happy with this.

Peter asks Sheldon and I if we could take him on course, his crew left in the morning thinking it would be a rain out.  Of course we are in, I am ready to take a break from flying and it was the least I could do to help crew for Peter.  Peter took a reasonable launch to about 2,500' and we got in the back of Sheldon's bright red Avalanche.  Let me tell you guys, this is the ultimate X/C vehicle.  Sheldon had two bean bag chairs in the back, great music pumped in, and a sunroof so he and a spotter could sit in the cab.  Peter kicked back into the bean bag chair, looked at me and said "Chillin' like a villain" and we were off down the road.  He flew a clean tight course, no thermal turns whatsoever, Sheldon and I just helped keep him just outside the course boundaries.  One of the cool things about the closed course was that other teams progress was evident.  You would pass a teams car, and they might pass you again.  The teams jeer at each other, and the pilots work harder.  You might even lap a team, we did when Skip stopped to work a thermal over the cemetery.  Thirty seven minutes later and countless laughs, we landed at 9.7 miles even though Sheldon was begging to drive around the corner to get 10.  It didn't even strike me that this team just won the event, I was having such a great time it wasn't even a contest, I wasn't paying attention to that at all.

We finished the day fun flying, I stuck the short wing tips on my DG-800s and was more aggressive than yesterday.  I had a couple of strange very high speed tucks at altitude so I took it back a notch, still enjoying large loops and rolls.  Other guys were tearing it up too, Skip and Dr. Dan look like they do this quite often.  People were wandering over for the awards ceremony, so we were getting an audience, the applause is always pleasant when you do something cool.

Dennis asked us to settle down and land so he could present the awards.  As I mentioned yesterday, it was Marc Gellart and team in first place in winch cross country, and Peter Goldsmith and team wins the first scale aerotow cross country at Nats.

The F3B results were not announced today, but when I spoke to Daryl later in the day and asked how he did he smiled and winked, and I knew the answer.

I think if you spoke to most of the guys that participated in the scale aerotow X/C event that they would agree that this was one of the most fun new formats that has happened in quite some time.  Peter has said that next years JR Aerotow event will also have a cross country contest, I will be there!

Here are the links to the final results:
Final Results Scale Aerotow X/C
Final ResultsWinch X/C

Permanent link to archive for 24/07/04.Sat, 24 July 2004

Nats 2004 Winch and Scale Aerotow, F3B - day 1

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Any nervousness or contest anticipation was instantly eliminated as I drove on to the AMA grounds Saturday morning.  The place was a bee hive of R/C soaring activity, every R/C channel was going to be in use for the next two days, at three different flying sites on the same grounds.  The F3B guys were setting up their area, the winch cross country guys were setting up winches and test flying, and the scale aerotow cross country guys were assembling some gorgeous models.  Harry DeBoer drives by and slaps me a high five truck to truck, waving to everyone on the first field tour of the year.  You have to appreciate the size of the AMA flying fields, it is a large facility, and I like to cruise around and check out what is happening, shoot video, pictures and talk to people.

Check in at HQ, get my package, and bump into Sheldon.  Instantly we are on the same groove we were on a year ago, he is going to team with me today and tomorrow in the scale aerotow X/C, and is excited as I am.  We head over to the aerotow area and park the trucks, instantly it's a reunion of Nats friends.  I have a hard time assembling my 1/3.75 scale DG-800s before the pilots meeting, I am talking to too many people.  There is a huge group of people participating this weekend, good pilots from around the world.   A very nice gentleman is cracking jokes to me during the pilots meeting, as he starts to get me laughing I pay a little more attention to the back of his shirt and notice it is Dave Brown, I didn't even recognize him.  So I get to meet Dave for the first time in a very loose situation, how cool.

Dave is here to watch the new scale aerotow X/C event, I notice we have a lot of spectators.  They have our flight line set up on the back end of the grounds, where the Free Flight guys usually fly.  After two tows Dave talks to CD Dennis Adamisin and suggests he move the aerotow flight line to the R/C tarmac landing strip, he was worried about us possibly interfering with the adjacent airports landing approach.  Some people were grumbling, but I thought the change was great, I wanted to land on the tarmac instead of the grass.  Most guys carried their models in the back of their crew vehicles to the new location.  By the way, at the end of the day Dave Brown said that the new scale aerotow X/C event was one of the neatest events that he had ever seen, and was already considering an extension perimeter road around the AMA grounds to give us a bigger lap!

We set up and the tugs were active.  My first tow of the day was going to be with Johnny and his Pegasus.  Johnny is a great pilot, loves to tow and is a bit of a hot rodder with his tug.  I told Johnny I was new to this stuff, I only had learned last weekend, and to take it easy on me.  He smiled and agreed, and did just that, although it was steepest tow I had ever performed.  Due to the wind, (around 15 mph), a steep tow into the wind with no downwind leg is the safest approach.  Johnny's tug is powerful and we towed at about 80 degrees at a high rate of speed, it was almost like an extended winch launch!  I released at about 1800' and cruised around and just felt out my model in the wind.  It seemed hardly affected, hey this was fun!  I setup my first approach on the tarmac, set it down smoothly and tried to keep the tips from touching the ground as long as I could as the model rolled out.  Huge smiles, everyone was sporting one.

Peter Goldsmith, flying a 1/3 Nimbus 2B, and Skip Miller flying a 6m Nimbus 4, John Derstine with a 1/3 Ka6E and Antonio Quesada were attacking the traditional 10k X/C course.  Capn' Jack flying a 5m Ventus AX, Tom Kallevang flying a Discus and I felt staying on the course inside the property was going to be the most fun for our teams.

On my second tow of the day, again I asked Johnny to be careful and he was.  On the third tow I didn't think I had to mention it again, so I didn't, and he didn't take it easy.  As soon as we were climbing he started rolling the tug.  I thought, OK, just do what I normally do and it was working, people were cheering, and I hear Dr. Dan scream, "Bacus, roll it the other way".  Good idea, but I am too new to this and don't want to mess up my new model so I just ride it out to the top.  Johhny was chuckling, and so was I, that was pretty cool.

The earlier part of the day turned out to have the best weather of the weekend, although windy, at least some sun and no rain.  The only serious attempts on the 10k X/C course by the winch guys happened in this period of the day, and Marc Gellart with team mates Steve Siebenaler and Bubba Glover took Marc's LET Albatross 6.93 miles out on the course, which would end up being good enough for the win.  But the afternoon brought light rain which shut down the aerotow and winch flightlines and I went over to the F3B field to spectate.  They were still flying in between drizzles when they could.

These guys like the wind, they were getting huge launches with ballasted models on their F3B winches loaded with monofilament line.  As I walked the flightline the contest was in progress, I was getting a lot of nods and quick "hellos", but these guys were busy and I tried to stay out of their way.  I shielded the camera with my rain coat as best I could and snapped pictures.  Dave Hauch, also spectating saw what I was trying to do and helped me out by holding his big umbrella over top of us as I snapped as many shots as I could.  Daryl and Joe were teamed together with this new guy I had never heard of before, Mike Smith.  I watched Mike do a speed run and I instantly saw that he was very good, looks like he had spent some hours on the slope too.  I managed to catch his smooth run on video with Dave shielding the rain.  Well, that is an awesome team, and the South African F3B/F3J team was competing, Michelle and Craig Goodrum and Anton Coetzee, they decided to stop by on their travels to the world championships just a week later in Red Deer, Canada.  Went and spoke with the SOAR guys where Richard Burnoski and William Wingstedt were having a good time, and doing OK despite the weather conditions.  A couple guys asked what was up with the wild aerotow, I got to smile and say that was me on the end of the line, and Johnny was doing that on purpose.

The skies opened up again, and the scale aerotow flightline rapidly turned into an acro fun fly session.  Skip started it off with some high speed passes right down the landing strip, into smooth large rolls.  Dr. Dan tells me to get the video camera rolling, and Johnny towing Dr. Dan instantly takes the tug inverted as soon as it breaks ground, then into a series of rolls, and Dr. Dan rolls his sailplane the opposite direction.  If this wasn't enough, at this point they both continue the tow inverted.  Everyone cheers, (we have a lot of spectators now), and they keep it up until the line breaks, it was impressive, and I caught it on tape.  I put the short tip extensions on my DG 800 and took several flights doing some nice loops and rolls, a few howling passes and I love attempting to shoot those perfect landings on the tarmac, with the wind we could roll to a stop and still keep our wings from touching the ground.

Even "Ornery Jack" was having a great time! 
video link 1:02  5.3mb  QuickTime movie  Sony HC-40 miniDV  edited with iMac & iMovie

The evening ended with a famous Joe Dirr BBQ at the AMA campground serving some of the best food I had all week.  His grilled corn was just awesome, as well as everything else he had prepared.  We had music system with an iPod full of tunes, bonfire, marg sphere and a great group of friends enjoying the evening on the campgrounds.  What a fantastic ending to one of the best kick off days of Nats that I ever remember.



Permanent link to archive for 18/07/04.Sun, 18 July 2004

My first scale aerotow on video

5:22  24.9mb  QuickTime movie  Sony DCR-HC40 miniDV edited on a Mac with iMovie

I thought it might be a good idea to learn how to aerotow my scale ship before we arrive at the Nationals in a week, and so did a group of SOAR club members.  We now have permission to fly aerotow at a farmers private grass strip, and it is a perfect site for this.  We all wanted to prepare a little better for the upcoming scale aerotow cross country event at the Nats, it will be a new event.

The first tow you see on the video is my very first scale aerotow launch and landing.  The launch and flight was uneventful, the landing was a little hard, the down comp. on my programming was a little much, and when I hit the flaps on final the down was a little more than expected.  I pulled back the stick rapidly, and even though the landing looked rough, no damage was done.  I flew it three or four more times that day.

Also, this was the first use of my new palm sized Sony miniDV camera.  As you will see, I have not mastered it yet but the image quality is much better than shooting mpeg video from my still camera.

Permanent link to archive for 10/07/04.Sat, 10 July 2004

The latest mod to my Z06.

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I had to remove the center console to do this mod.

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I removed the ashtray and installed a custom mount for a G-Tech Pro performance meter and a serial I/O port so I could hook up my laptop to it.  I really like logging devices like these, I've already improved my 0-60ft and 0-60mph times by looking at the graphs after the runs, slightly changing my technique, and inspecting the graphs again.

I have to say the install looks good, and the backlit blue LCD display on the G-Tech Pro goes well with all the other blue lighting going on inside my blue Z06.

Permanent link to archive for 05/07/04.Mon, 05 July 2004

The SOAR Fred Fredrickson memorial contest was held a few weeks ago, this is usually our biggest contest of the year, it is also a stop on the OVSS tour.  I usually photograph and write about this event, but I am getting into digital video a lot more lately.  Here is a video I put together of the event, shot in mpeg movie mode on my Sony DSC-P9 4 megapixel still camera, and edited with Window Movie Maker software.

SOAR Fred Fredrickson memorial contest video  -- 35mb, 13:42 .wmv

Permanent link to archive for 03/07/04.Sat, 03 July 2004

Here is the latest DVD I purchased, it definitely has some interesting footage on it.  Check out some of the trailers that are available to download.



Permanent link to archive for 02/07/04.Fri, 02 July 2004

The latest mod to my Z06

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I added some billet pedals in my Z06, I like the look, but a surprise to me was I like the light grippy feel of the accelerator pedal.

Permanent link to archive for 01/07/04.Thu, 01 July 2004

The last C5 Corvette was manufactured today, a Commerative Coupe.  The assembly line will be closed for a couple of weeks and then it is all C6.

Permanent link to archive for 30/06/04.Wed, 30 June 2004

Bloomington Gold 2004

That's me between my Electron Blue Z06 and Sneidley's Black on Black M6 Coupe parked at Bloomington Gold - GoldField

Sneidley and I met for a breakfast last Saturday morning and then we drove our Vettes to Bloomington Gold and parked on the GoldField.  Basically Corvette drivers could drive onto the golf course and display their car on the grass of the golf course.  I have never seen so many Vettes in my life, so many nice people and cars on a gorgeous day, it was overwhelming.

Here is a gallery of pictures from the event that I shot.

Permanent link to archive for 25/06/04.Fri, 25 June 2004

Several weekends ago I participated in a Hooters run.  Basically a group of Corvette enthusiasts meet up and drive to a Hooters restaurant to have some wings and show off their cars.  We had a good time, here is a little in car video, I've been doing more video than photography lately.

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Permanent link to archive for 15/06/04.Tue, 15 June 2004

Dr. Dan in Colorado sent me a picture of his new ICON.  I think this is one of the best paint schemes I have seen on the ICON, outstanding!

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Permanent link to archive for 03/06/04.Thu, 03 June 2004

Bacus Labs released a new version of TMAscore, tissue microarray image analysis software utilizing WebSlide® virtual slide technology.

Permanent link to archive for 27/05/04.Thu, 27 May 2004

k i l l b o y . c o m  Check out all the wonderful photography!  US129 is on my list of roads I would like to someday drive, 318 curves in 11 miles, tail of the dragon, Deal's Gap, NC.

Permanent link to archive for 14/05/04.Fri, 14 May 2004

Friday Video

I was talking to Bob Hunt, the editor of Model Aviation, confirming that I will be covering the R/C Soaring National Championships again this year.  This will be my third year of doing photojournalism for them on this event, last year you might recall I was on the cover of the magazine!  Bob and I got talking about his other hobby, high performance sport bikes.  One of the bikes Bob owns and rides is a Suzuki Hayabusa, probably the fastest production bike ever made.  I mentioned I rode for many years, but now do it with 4 wheels instead of two with my Z06.  Bob also is a Vette fan and has owned several, so then I mentioned I saw this video of a Vette pulling a 'busa.  I could tell by the tone of his voice he thought I was full of it, he was quick to reply "that is a 9 second bike."  I know, I said it was from a roll.  He said, "that bike has a top end of 184", and I mentioned that some Vettes could top that.  The subject switched around, and he got another call, but Bob, this video is for you...

Here is a video of a Corvette running a Hayabusa and taking it.

Permanent link to archive for 12/05/04.Wed, 12 May 2004

I mainly write about three subjects on my blog, virtual microscopy, soaring and sports cars.  Basically I work really hard, and then I play hard with the time left over.  If I have any spare time from doing these activities I blog them.

So I created a new set of links on the left under the Articles section, that will allow one to filter my blog and read my posts about any one of these particular subjects.

Permanent link to archive for 10/05/04.Mon, 10 May 2004

Just got back from New York this evening, I was out at Nikon USA Headquarters on business.  That's always a fun and interesting trip, I the opportunity to see a bunch of cool new stuff today. 

Cool as in COOLSCOPE.

Permanent link to archive for 09/05/04.Sun, 09 May 2004

I was named inventor on our tenth patent awarded to Bacus Laboratories, Inc., 6,674,881 Method and Apparatus for Internet, Intranet, and Local Viewing of Virtual Microscope Slides.

Permanent link to archive for 07/05/04.Fri, 07 May 2004

Friday Video

I've had Corvette videos for the last couple of Fridays, how about some Ferrari action today.  In the first video four Ferraris play on the streets of Italy.  I don't know what the speed limit is there, but I am sure these cars are up to it.  The camera car is a 355, a F50, 358 and a Testarossa all are playing, wow, would that be a sight to see live.  In the second video this guy has the bling bling red ride, and takes it to the local spot to show it off.  Spinning the tires is easy with this much horsepower, especially when it is a little wet out.  Apparently keeping it on the road is not as easy...  nor is stopping...

(There's a lot more where these came from, thank you Nikolas Motorsport)

Permanent link to archive for 05/05/04.Wed, 05 May 2004

Here is a list of North America's Fastest Production Cars.

1968 was an impressive year for the muscle car, those cars are FAST!  (Of course those times were on drag slicks, the tires of the day would have shreaded apart using them like that).

My Corvette model ranks 29th, not in bad company. 

Permanent link to archive for 30/04/04.Fri, 30 April 2004

Friday Video

How about some more in car footage...  a supercharged Corvette running with a Yamaha R1 motorcycle.  There is a point in this video where the R1 is wide open, and the Vette is right with him.  Very fast, on rough roads, hang on!  Click Here

Car videos are like eating potato chips, one is never enough.  Here is some Corvette street racing footage.  Click Here

Permanent link to archive for 29/04/04.Thu, 29 April 2004

I happened to be trying to buy a song in the iTunes music store when they released v4.5 yesterday, weird errors, but I figured they must have changed client software and they did!  I managed to upgrade which included iTunes v4.5, a new version of QuickTime in which iTunes complained about having at install, but was not to be had until later in the day... an upgrade to my iPod, and then even later a new version of iMovie.  Typical of the way Apple releases software updates.

Anyway, all is well that ends well, and I finally did get to purchase the song I was looking for.  I like new Party Shuffle, and the ability to publish iMixes.  Here is a favorite iMix I put together.  And I also like the Top 10 RSS feed, that is not new, but I hadn't mentioned it before so I will right now.

And thank you Steve for giving us a free song to download every day this week.

Permanent link to archive for 23/04/04.Fri, 23 April 2004

Friday Video

This video was filmed from the cockpit of a GT spec Lotus Elise Exige on the Nurburgring Nordschleife.  The guy in front is in a
stock looking Euro Corvette (different tail light arrangement).  About half way through the video the Lotus driver catches the Corvette driver and they drive side by side for an instant braking into a corner and exchange smiles.  At this point the race track opens to a long straight and the Corvette just vanishes, he pulls the Lotus at speed in an amazing blast.  The Lotus driver looks down to his computer to see if his car is OK, and then the next expression and hand gesture is just priceless...  he catches a few more slower cars, but that Corvette is never to be seen again.

Permanent link to archive for 22/04/04.Thu, 22 April 2004

Jupiter: 1,000-song pocket about the right size

I read the above article on c|net today, and can't believe how far off they are on their research on that one.  (Unless they want most everyone that buys into that to upgrade in about a year)  Most of my audiophile friends have more tracks than I do, and I am at 2,800 plus on my 20gb iPod with about 5gb to spare. 

I am already considering buying a model that can hold more. 

(Check out my TuneCam to see what iTunes is currently playing on my iMac)

Permanent link to archive for 05/04/04.Mon, 05 April 2004

I remember one of the first bicycles I was really proud to have as a kid was a Schwinn StingRay.  It was metallic blue, had a banana seat, ape hanger handle bars and a slick for the back tire.  And I remember the Orange Krate, with it's springer fork suspension and shocks on the back seat, the 5 speed stick shift and it's factory chopper like look.  The kids in the neighborhood that had those, oh the envy.

Schwinn is re-releasing the StringRay, and I have to say their web site sparked a lot of old memories.  I admit it, I think this new version is pretty cool to look at.  I'd consider owning a metallic blue one again just as a conversation piece for the shop.

Permanent link to archive for 03/04/04.Sat, 03 April 2004

I planned to go soaring this morning, but 23mph winds from the north made that option not viable.  So I decided to spend a little time with my Corvette, and add another "mod" that was waiting to be installed.  I recently acquired a Halltech Tunnel Ram Air Bridge in carbon candy pomegranate, not an easy thing to find.  Thanks to Jon at and Debbie Hall at Halltech, Inc. for locating one for me.

Click to Enlarge

I really wasn't in a hurry, but hour and half and a large cup of coffee and I was finished.  Wasn't that difficult at all, and I like the new look.

Click to Enlarge

(Click on either image to enlarge)

Permanent link to archive for 01/04/04.Thu, 01 April 2004

A slick web site can make any company look more than it is, and it is far easier to promise future products on a web site than it is to actually deliver functioning products, particularly in virtual microscopy.  At first glance, it would seem an easy task to digitize a 1" by 3" piece of glass with the resolution of a microscope, and deliver that media in a practical fashion to the average personal computer, but in fact it is a daunting task.  I can name at least three companies in the United States alone, that have claimed to be virtual microscopy companies for at least a year or more.

They all have the same thing in common, a slick web site, strong claims that their scanning will be the fastest, computer generated pictures of the scanner, and no virtual slides online for demonstration or evaluation. 

If you can't put a real picture of your scanning equipment online it's only a prototype, perhaps one or two exist, and it's obviously far from being manufactured.  If you can't put a generous amount of slides online by now, in an organized fashion where a large group of users may be simultaneously looking at a variety of different slides, your server and viewing software technology is already years behind.  And until all the previously mentioned products are solid and in daily use with a variety of different customers, you won't have any foundation let alone understanding of doing distributed digital image analysis applications with virtual slides.

These may seem like strong statements, especially if you just recently learned about virtual microscopy, but I have been in the virtual microscopy business for a decade now, and I have seen the progress of development in my company as well as my real competitors over that time. 

I should mention that I can also name at least three companies in the United States that do deliver virtual microscopy products.  And I certainly know one company that does show pictures of actual scanners and demonstrate them, that can scan slides for you today, and that has hundreds of virtual slides online that you can evaluate from your computer right now, just a click a way from my blog. A company that has considered scanning, serving and viewing virtual slides as a common daily practice for years, not as something that is new.  A company that has the industry leading viewing software which is free to download and use immediately, and does not lean on 3rd party viewing software which is not designed for virtual microscopy.  A company that has virtual slides that can be scanned as a stack and focused like an actual microscope. A company that is already delivering several distributed image analysis applications that utilize virtual slide technology, allowing people to quantitate specimen on microscope slides in ways that were never possible before.   Bacus Laboratories, Inc., pioneered virtual microscopy and happens to be one of those companies that does deliver virtual microscopy products.

Permanent link to archive for 31/03/04.Wed, 31 March 2004

I've seen several blogs today mention newsmap.  It's a clickable, color coded map of Google News.  Interesting piece of work, from a user interface point of view, as well as the technology involved.

Permanent link to archive for 29/03/04.Mon, 29 March 2004

The Z06 is a monster in stock form, one can drive it to the race track, stomp on it hard all day, and then drive it home afterwards.  There is a group of people out there on the Internet that use the Z06 as a starting point, and "mod" (modify) it to higher levels of extreme. 

Hint: If you are at a stop light and  you hear a Z06 that sounds like THIS sitting next to you, take a closer look.

Permanent link to archive for 28/03/04.Sun, 28 March 2004

Here is the first blog from my new computer.  I've had it for a couple of weeks, it's amazing how much stuff I had to transition and install from my old computer.  3.4 Ghz of Intel P4 with hyperthreading, 800Mhz frontside bus, 1GB of RAM, half a terabyte of hard disk, ATI 9800XT and Windows XP Media Edition 2004.  The new XP allows you to do the TiVo like recording of TV shows, I guess that is pretty cool and it works, but I don't watch that much TV.

Needless to say the computer is fast...

Permanent link to archive for 11/03/04.Thu, 11 March 2004

So what is a COOLSCOPE?

It's a digital microscope Internet appliance made by Nikon.  I remember several years ago people talking about Internet appliances, like your microwave or refrigerator were going to be on the net, but the COOLSCOPE really makes sense as a Internet appliance.  It is the size of a typical PC computer case, with a USB mouse/keyboard port, monitor/LCD projector connector and an Ethernet connector on the back side.  Inside it are two objectives, a 10x and a 40x, optics that can switch in and provide two additional magnifications at 5x and 20x.  The digital camera inside it is a 2/3" 5.24 megapixel unit from Nikon, and the light source is a "cool" LED plate beneath the slide.  The microscope stage also serves as the arm that extends from the unit to accept the slide, and when it is retracted a macro mode scans the entire slide in two adjacent images.  Integrated HTTP, FTP and Telnet servers provide the interface for control and transferring images.

Standalone, it could serve as a microscope projector connected to a LCD projector, or as just a still image capture machine, saving images on a flash card.  Connect it to the Internet, and it can be controlled by another person at a remote location with a web browser.

When my father and I were first given a preview of the COOLSCOPE, we immediately knew that this could be the platform for an innovative, affordable virtual microscopy scanner.  Lee Shuett of Nikon Instruments, Inc. also shared the vision of a new affordable system for virtual microscopy, and a good relationship and partnership formed.  We have been actually finding ways to lower the cost of our own scanning system BLISS over the years as our competitors continue to raise their prices.  However, the COOLSCOPE VS introduces a new price/performance level in virtual microscopy.

Bacus Laboratories, Inc. will develop software to allow the Nikon COOLSCOPE to scan virtual slides into the WebSlide format, which will allow Nikon's COOLSCOPE customers to leverage a wide variety of the software Bacus Labs has developed over the past 10 years specifically for virtual microscopy.  A suite of custom scanning and server software will be shipped in the box with every COOLSCOPE in the USA. 

Nikon will be able to exclusively distribute some of the best products for virtual microscopy custom adapted to their hardware, Bacus Labs has exclusive access to the unique COOLSCOPE VS platform for virtual microscopy, and virtual microscopy customers will get more for the money than was ever possible before.  This is a win-win-win, a very rare combination.

Permanent link to archive for 04/03/04.Thu, 04 March 2004

Although I have been developing software on this project for months, I can finally start talking about it.  The link to the press release below just hit the wires.

Nikon Announces Exclusive Distribution of Bacus Labs Virtual Microscopy Software With its New Nikon COOLSCOPE VS

This is really great news for the virtual microscopy market, the new Nikon COOLSCOPE VS with our software will by far be the most cost effective, bang for the buck scanner you can buy.

Permanent link to archive for 18/02/04.Wed, 18 February 2004

This looks to be the most impressive Mercedes-Benz I have ever seen, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.

(No, I am not looking to replace the Z06, actually in my mind not much could replace it.)

Permanent link to archive for 10/02/04.Tue, 10 February 2004

Bacus Labs released WebSlide Browser v3.6 today.  This is a software application that I have been developing over several years now, and software that I use daily. 

It sets many firsts, for instance it was the first commercially available virtual microscopy software.  (Bacus Labs is going to celebrate its 10th year of business this year)  This software is particularly adept for viewing digital microscope slides from a variety of media, including over a network.

It introduced the multipane/magnification view of a microscope slide, i.e. being able to simultaneously see a thumbnail overview of the entire slide, while viewing a higher magnification in an adjacent pane.  Microscopists frequently change the objectives on their microscopes to low power to navigate and high power to examine.

It was the first to integrate interactive measurements over a virtual slide.

It was the first to integrate annotation overlays on a virtual slide.

It was the first to allow multiple users to view the same virtual slide over the Internet and synchronize their views to simulate a multiheaded microscope, including a chat system.

It was the first to integrate html and other multimedia around a virtual slide viewing pane so a wide variety of information can be presented with the slide in a flexible, standard way.

It was the first to integrate focusing a virtual slide.

And this version will be the first to...   I can't write about that yet, but it's already in there!

And by the way, did you know it is a good lightweight web browser?  Here is my web site in WebSlide Browser.

Click to enlarge

Permanent link to archive for 01/02/04.Sun, 01 February 2004

My friend Larry Jolly was recently involved with the new AOL commercials for the SuperBowl, and did some work with the guys from Orange County Choppers.

It appears that after working with the chopper guys Larry is now going through some kind of phase, he even wears his shades to bed now!

Larry is wearing the new 2004 long sleave USA F3J Team shirt, GordySoar Limited Edition.

Support our 2004 USA F3J team and buy a T Shirt at this web site!

Permanent link to archive for 23/01/04.Fri, 23 January 2004

Click to enlargeI've been asked many times how I built the linkage for the spoiler on my AVA, here it is...

The AVA is really a simple build, the only thing I put any thought into was the spoiler linkage.  The spoiler on this model is huge, and my first concern was spoiler deflection on launch, I did not want that barn door spoiler pulling away from the wing so I needed some kind of positive control in both directions, (many guys in the old days of RES would just rig linkage for deflection, and use magnets or rubberbands to hold the spoiler down when not deployed).  My next concern was how tight the working area was to pull this off.  I happened to be playing around with an R/C Helicopter when the solution came to me, dual ball links on an opposed 90 degree angle.

I went to the hobby shop and bought a couple Dubro ball links, cut down the threaded socket ends, cut a small piece of threaded control rod, and screwed the two ball link arms together making sure the ball link ends ended up at about 90 degrees off angle to each other.  The pictures below should make this process much clearer.

Click to enlarge

View from the bottom of the center panel, Hitec HS-80 servo fits perfectly.


Click to enlarge 

View from the top of the center panel, spoiler fully deflected.


Click to enlarge

More than enough!  I have this much potential travel, no slop all the way down to a positive closed position.

Click the above pictures to enlarge them if you need a closer look.


Permanent link to archive for 21/01/04.Wed, 21 January 2004

The new era of the American Muscle Car

Have you noticed all the new American Muscle Cars that are either updated versions of classic legends such as the Corvette C6 and the Viper SRT-10, or all new cars like the Ford GT or Mustang, and the upcoming Shelby.  Cadillac has the new XLR, and Pontiac has brought back the GTO.

And for you Ferrari guys, here is an old but good video(Turn up the volume to listen to that nice Ferrari engine sound).

Be careful out there...


Permanent link to archive for 13/01/04.Tue, 13 January 2004

Mars panoramic image in QTVR.  I think that is a really fascinating combination of technologies, worth the time to check it out.

Permanent link to archive for 04/01/04.Sun, 04 January 2004

I have found some web sites that have some incredible video of driving I don't think I would ever publish online, but these young guys do.  Armed with muscle cars and digital video recorders, these short clips capture some things you might not normally see.

Below is a link to an in cockpit video of a guy out in the Nevada desert doing a 0 - 186mph run in a modified C5 Corvette.  (He bangs into the rev-limiter a few times, roll eyes still a very fast run!)

Click Here

There are a huge number of street racing video clips in the above folder, some are more interesting than others.

From, here is the view from inside an import hi-rever that happens across a red hot C5 Coupe Corvette.  Owned, several times.

Click Here

And from, a BMW M3 vs. Z06, notice the Z06 can't really get hooked up on the cold night roads until 3rd gear, and then it is all over.

Click Here

Permanent link to archive for 01/01/04.Thu, 01 January 2004

Happy New Year!

I've added a page to my site dedicated to some of my interests.  Corvette enthusiasts that are online all seem to have a page that has pictures, and descriptions of the "mods" they have made to their car.  Here is the start of my page, the car is basically stock at this point, and the page is very simple, watch it grow this year as I mod my Vette.  I also placed a permanent link on the left side of the page so I don't have to blog about it, any updates I make on that page will displayed with your aggregator as the RSS feed updates.

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