Movable Pilot - nothing that hasn't been done before
Hardly original, but this is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time – give one of my pilots some mobility, so they can turn their head to see where they’re going. I picked my ever first pilot, Hippy Horse, for the operation.
I wanted to put a 5 gram servo inside of the figure and rig it up to turn Mr. Horse’s head in concert with the rudder. I dug in my parts box for the ‘Y’ connector that I’m sure I have, but I simply couldn’t find it. Being impatient, I rolled my own from two servo extensions I had on hand. Both the new 5 gram pilot servo, and the existing rudder servo, plug into this.
I pulled off the pilot and cut a hole for the new servo.
I puzzled over an armature for quite a while, and finally came up with this. The servo arm is screwed onto the servo. A second servo arm is screwed onto the first, upside-down. I epoxied a length of bamboo skewer into the gear hole in the servo arm, then repeated the process for a third servo arm. Finally, I attached a length of coffee stir (not shown) to the top servo arm. The coffee stir sticks down into the horse’s nose.
I rigged up a new control stick. The old one was glued in place and this one needed to be able to move with the pilot. I hooked a short length of piano wire thru the end of yet another servo arm, then wrapped it in black electrical tape. I epoxied the final bit of servo arm into the cockpit and placed the stick in the pilot’s hands. Then I put everything back together again.
I discovered a few cracks starting in my old Tiger Moth and, as long as I had the wing off for repairs, I decided to take the opportunity to tweak my recent movable pilot mod.
I realized after my first test flight that it would be better to put the pilot on the aileron, rather than rudder, channel, as that channel gets a lot more – and larger – activity. That is, the ailerons move farther, and more often, than the rudder, so I’d see more pilot movement.
I also realized that I didn’t really need the ‘Y’ connector I had so laboriously soldered together from two servo extensions. Instead of splitting the signal from the receiver, I could just program a mix on the radio, itself. Which is what I did, using the aileron channel to drive the flap channel (which this plane doesn’t use). The pilot servo is now plugged directly into the flap channel.
Using an aux channel also allows you to 'overdrive' the movement so getting more turn effect.
Your posting has got me thinking about whether I can animate "Major Bird" .... so he 'raises' the finger instead of being there all time !!
Thinking about pilot heads in general ... I keep scouring the kiddies toy shelves for suitable small figures that the heads could be used .. particularly wanting a really good example of Snoopy ... but so far no luck. So I'll just keep on cutting out in foam ....
I print of at scale a profile piccie of the head / shoulders and stick to foam block. Cut round and then with sandpaper give it a bit of shape ... WBPU over it to seal the surface and then permanent marker pens to colour up. I usually end up cutting away most of the shoulders to sit them down in cockpit ... but making them with - gives me that range ...
Mark - any reason you picked a "Horse" ? Novel - I give it that !! On full size boats I used to have a Vinyl sticker of a Dolphin as my marker ..
Thanks, everyone. Nigel, I've actually been thinking about overdriving him, but I'm not sure I actually want much more movement. I may give it a try though.
Don't feel bad for never hearing of Hippy Horse; he's not a 'thing,' he's just my pilot. There are no Hippy Horse cartoons or anything that you're unaware of. I found him just as you describe - scouring the shelves in the kids' section of stores, looking for pilots. He's actually one of these little stuffed animals, which I found at WalMart. He's a horse because that's the first toy I found that I liked the looks of in the plane.
My choosing Snoopy was all based on the cartoon of Snoopy and the Red Baron many years ago ... I was into WW1 scale machines and I wanted a pilot that would lighten up the general atmosphere when not in comp ... so my Snoopy in the near scale stuff was my chuckle factor !
I had a windcheater jacket that had many badges on ... from shows and various manufacturers etc. - one of the best was Snoopy in his flying helmet on top of the dog kennel ... a famous picture ... that is along with all the others being sewn to a new Polo Shirt back at home while I'm away ... the jacket no longer able to cover my expanding stomach !!
I'm going to have to look at this moving pilot thing ... it's got me really interested ... If I can find a good Snoopy doll to modify - I will do it to my big biplane ... which is also destined to tow streamers etc. once all sorted ...