31 May

Not much to report. Drove an uneventfully 60 miles round trip to a hobby store. A kid walking by Midlana got all excited and asked a million question, seemingly having forgotten why he was there. Good to see kids taking an interest in cars these days.

I was there to get some parts myself. After 35 years I’m getting back into RC gliders, one with an electric motor (Radian Pro if you’re interested). A LOT has changed over the last 35 years, with better batteries, motors and electronics. No more gas engines to pull it to altitude; today even an average LiPo battery pack is enough to fly during a lunch hour. Having been through the balsa construction process dozens of times, this time I got one that’s pretty much ready to go out of the box, all it needed was the transmitter. Flying gliders isn’t quite like riding a bike though – it is possible to forget the nuances of the sport and I’m once again back at the oh-geez-oh-crap-that-was-close stage. The motor is nice since where I work there’s little wind and no west-facing hills. Some people use really long stretchy-rubber launch devices, but a motor, while it adds some weight, makes it so much more convienent to fly that it’s worth it. Flaps and ailerons make it even better.

Some coworkers have been flying for years and it’s pretty amazing how technology has changed. There’s now video goggles and aircraft-mounted cameras, complete with feedback so that you can turn your head left, right, up or down, and the camera follows suit. Pretty cool, though everyone was joking that the goggles also double as “birth-control glasses”, making the wearer instantly repulsive to all women, or maybe we already were.

Back on Midlana, still haven’t done the high speed run to calibrate the knock sensor. The plan was to get out on the freeway about 5am on a Sunday morning, find a big gap, and data-log one run in 4th gear. Nothing happened because since I get up every workday at 5am, it’s nice to sleep in “really late” to about 6:30, and by then the traffic starts closing up. It’ll happen eventually…