Patch News – January 2019

The club has had a busy start to the year with lots of flying at the patch and several new models being flown.Obviously January brings some challenging weather but overall it hasn’t been too bad, mostly fairly mild although some days were very cold, especially if the low temperatures were combined with strong winds. As I write this on the last Sunday morning of the month I’m not flying because the Hampshire Astronomical Group live weather station (which you can see by clicking HERE) is showing a 10 minute average wind speed of 29mph and a high of 47mph!But we’re a hardy lot (well some of us are anyway) and we’ve managed to fly regularly.

As we were returning to the cars after one flying session I noticed a very unusual weather feature, a bank of cloud with an almost dead straight edge that ran from horizon to horizon. I think 1066 said it’s called a Step cloud.The photo doesn’t really do it justice but you can get the idea, it was certainly very dramatic.

We were pleased to welcome a new member, Ian, to the club in January. Ian’s surname is Venn and for obvious reasons he was immediately given the nickname Iven, so if you’re wondering why it’s not spelt Ivan, that’s your answer. Iven visited the field, asked lots of questions about what to buy and from where, and then went to SMC and bought an E-Flite Apprentice fitted with Spektrum radio…hmm. But the Apprentice is a great trainer and it comes with SAFE Technology (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope) which in theory makes it almost impossible to crash.The package includes a 5 channel Spektrum DXe transmitter but that’s a very basic transmitter so Iven also bought a Spektrum DX6e for a bit of future proofing and bound that to the Apprentice instead of using the DXe.There is some setting up to do on the transmitter to get the SAFE Tech working correctly but Iven thought he’d sorted it ok when he brought it along to test fly. I gave the 1.5M span Apprentice a quick check over, discussed the various SAFE modes, switched to Expert mode, and all seemed fine so I took it up. Almost immediately it was clear that the SAFE Tech was not performing as it should and was fighting against me as I tried to fly a circuit. I didn’t feel as if I was in total control so I landed. You can see that brief flight in this month’s video. We played around with the different modes and tried again a couple of times but it just wasn’t working correctly so Dougal Entendre and Captain Slow gave Iven a go on their Hummers, hardly ideal trainers! I contacted Kryten as he had learnt to fly with exactly the same model and radio gear and he confirmed that getting the DX6e to work with the SAFE Tech was a bit of a struggle but sent me some web links and YouTube videos to look at. I passed the info on to Iven who had another go at it and returned to the field the next week confident that it was now correct. I flew it again in Expert mode but with much the same results so I switched to Beginner mode and then it seemed to be working better.At last Iven was able to have a go at flying and he managed a couple of circuits before it became clear the SAFE Tech still wasn’t right so I landed the Apprentice again. By now I was being to think it was me so I got Dougal to fly it but he also quickly found the SAFE Tech wasn’t right and landed. I believe Iven is now going to remove the SAFE receiver and use the ‘normal’ one that came with the DX6e transmitter so we can just teach him in the usual manner. It’s a great shame as Kryten’s set up worked perfectly from day one and he learned to fly very quickly with very little assistance from others. In the meantime Dougal has set Iven up with a flight simulator so in a couple of weeks he won’t need any help at all anyway…possibly…

If you read Patch News last month you’ll know I was fortunate enough to receive an Avios Bush Mule for Christmas. Once Christmas and New Year were out of the way I moved my models out of my storeroom and it became a model room once more so I was able to assemble the Bush Mule. There really is very little involved in putting it together, just a case of joining and bolting on the wings and wing struts, fitting the undercarriage, and bolting on the tailplane/fin assembly. I also epoxied the tailplane/fin assembly in place, the bolts didn’t seem too firm to me. So far so good, but it took me quite a while to connect it all up and program the radio. Both speed controllers and motors come ready fitted and wired up but they each require a radio channel of their own and I wanted to mix them with rudder to give differential thrust when using the rudder. There are also flaps which I programmed using flight phases so I have Phase 1: Flaps up for normal flight Phase 2: Half flap for take-off, Phase 3: Full flap for landing.Add to this the cargo door, steerable nose wheel, and lights as well as two aileron channels and elevator and there’s quite a lot of wiring and setting up to sort out. The speed controllers are also able to switch the motors into reverse, useful if you fit the floats and fly from water, but I didn’t have any spare channels left so I can’t use reverse thrust. I am also using telemetry, so I fitted a Multiplex 150A current sensor which displays live current draw, max current draw, receiver voltage, the lipo voltage, the strength of the signal that the transmitter is getting back from the receiver, and, most importantly, the milliamp hours remaining in the lipo. All the values can be displayed on the transmitter screen and spoken as well but of course that’s far too much information to take in during the flight so I just have mine set to speak the milliamp hours left when I flick a switch. So it’s like a fuel gauge i.e. it will say “One thousand three hundred and eighty one milliamp hours”. It also speaks the throttle open time when I switch it.The first flight was fine, almost no trimming required, and the only problem I found was that the rock solid EPP foam wheels make the landings very bouncy. I’ve since changed the main wheels to softer foam rubber Tundra wheels which has helped a lot but I’ve also found it’s better to land with half flap and a little more speed rather than use full flap. I ordered some parachutes to drop but they didn’t come in time for the first flight so I made up some very small gliders and some toffees with streamers to drop. The gliders were rubbish as were the toffees but the parachutes duly arrived and they’ve proved to be excellent. I now have six parachutes and they’ve been providing lots of entertainment and exercise for everyone who isn’t flying! You can see a parachute drop in this month’s video. I did manage to provide some extra entertainment on one flight. I took off as usual, raised the flaps during the climb out and suddenly both motors cut dead. I kept heading straight into wind and landed a few hundred metres down the field. As I walked to retrieve the model I tried to work out why the motors had stopped, I knew the lipo was charged. Then, as I reached the Bush Mule I saw the flaps were down and it dawned on me, instead of raising the flaps I’d pressed the throttle cut button…doh! Needless to say the other fliers present were surprised when I carried the model straight back to the patch and immediately took off again. I was forced to explain my stupidity and of course once they’d stopped laughing they barely mentioned it for next two hours…over and over again!

Speaking of pillocks, 1066 had a couple of ‘moments’ in January and I know he’d be disappointed if I didn’t tell you about them. The first one was when he launched his little Blitz delta and it immediately rolled straight into the deck. He looked down at the transmitter and we all saw the light bulb moment when he realised he’d switched the model to Blaze not Blitz! Never mind Steve, the first two letters were right…His second moment was a couple of weeks later, I saw him drive down the track but a few minutes later he drove back up it again. About half an hour later he returned, clutching the wings that he’d left on the bench!

I photographed Captain Slow’s part built Zagi at the beginning of November last year and featured it in Patch News where I mentioned that SMC say “Buy today, fly tomorrow”. Well this is how it was looking in mid-January. Perfection takes time…apparently…

But as the foamboard jet trend continues Captain Slow has finished his Mig-29…blimey, they must be quick to build!He’s fitted his with a Turnigy D2826/6 2200Kv motor and a 6×4 prop. It seems to fly just the same as the others although nobody is sure just how fast it will go as Captain Slow has never reached full throttle! As you can see he’s opened up the slot to reduce the prop noise and it seems to prove that the most important gap is the one in front of the prop. Captain Slow is also now building a Sukhoi SU-27…don’t hold your breath…

Gorgeous Gary has also joined the jet jockeys with a Mig-29. He’s using a drone motor, an RCINPOWER G2306 2200Kv, the same motor as I use. They seem good with a 6×4 prop and have plenty of power for the foamies.Gary had a big smile on his face at the end of the first flight … He’s had more flights with the Mig and is coming round to the joys of electric flight at last. And guess what, now he’s got the bug he’s building an SU-27!

Having enjoyed flying his Mig-29 for a few weeks Woody has now put together a Sukhoi SU-27. Being Woody he’s kitted it out with lights and I have to admit it does look impressive in flight, they show up well. The Sukhoi is a bit bigger than the Mig and has ailerons as well as elevons which means it’s better for high alpha stuff but not quite as quick flat out. I’ve also retro fitted a rudder to mine which helps with high alpha flying.

Page Boy was given an E-flite Texan for his birthday and very nice it is too. The E-flite models all seem to be good.It’s a 1500mm EPO foam model that comes pretty much complete, just a few screws are required to hold it together, the electronics, servos, linkages etc. are all pre-installed. The Texan comes with electric retracts which have strut covers, hinged doors, and scale wheels, and it has split flaps just like the full-size Texan. Page Boy asked me to do the maiden flight and being aware of the Texan/Harvard reputation for tip stalling I was slightly nervous. But the E-flite model is totally viceless, a real pussycat to fly, it took off beautifully, flew around very smoothly, and with the flaps down it just floated in for a gentle landing. You can see it in this month’s video.

Page Boy also sent me some photos of the latest ‘proper’ balsa/ply build that he has underway. It’s a Lindsay Todd design called a Woodpecker that has a 70″ wingspan. I thought it was an English Electric Wren, I’m sure that must have been Lindsay’s inspiration. Knowing Page Boy it will soon be finished and flying.

Most of you will know by now that on 10th January we had a Chinook fly directly over the patch at very low level. Fortunately we had just packed up flying and put the fence up when it appeared over the trees by the track we drive down, it flew right over the patch and out over the valley. It was very low, between 50 and 100 feet we reckoned and was going at speed. I quickly snapped a couple of photos but they don’t really show just how low it was. Had any models been in the air it’s doubtful the pilots would have had time to take any avoiding action. We are always careful about other airspace users, keep our ears and eyes open, and shout warnings as required but this served as a reminder that we must be extra vigilant. Contact has been made with the relevant authorities to ensure they know when and where we fly but ultimately it’s our responsibility to avoid full-size aircraft at all costs.

A few months ago Norwegian Nick won a Wingnetic in the big raffle and he brought it along to test fly in January.In the usual Norwegian Nick manner he has tarted up the original colour scheme a bit and made it look much smarter than standard. It’s certainly a lot better than my own very old and tatty Wingnetic! Sadly it didn’t quite get away from the launch and incurred some minor damage, but no doubt it will reappear and fly successfully soon. The Wingnetics are great little fliers and several members have enjoyed owning them.

Last month I pictured two models that were being put together by Newbie Nick and Matt. (Incidentally Matt needs a nickname, do you have any ideas?) They are both Pilot-RC Extra 330SCs with 67” wingspan, but Nick’s is a Gen 1 and Matt’s is a Gen 2. The Gen 2 has slightly different reinforcements and some other minor improvements. They were both hoping to fly them last week but Matt discovered some hinge problems with his so only Nick’s flew. It has a 400Kv Pilot motor swinging an 18×10 wooden prop, and a 6 cell 5000mAh lipo pack. Nick has fitted Savox 0252MG servos, and a Futaba R7008SB FASSTest receiver which is powered by a 6.6v life battery. Matt did the test flight which you can see in this month’s video. It flew really nicely and had plenty of power but the centre of gravity was slightly rearward and Matt wanted to make some slight adjustments to the throws and expo so he landed with plenty of battery capacity for another flight. Nick moved the lipo forward and made the adjustments on the transmitter and then Matt went to take-off again. But there was no power, the prop didn’t turn at all!After much fiddling, investigation, and helpful(?) comments from everyone present Nick gave up and flew his F-35 to cheer himself up! Back on the workbench he discovered the HobbyWing Platinum 100A Pro V3 speed controller was dead. Nick has sent it back and has just received a Castle Creations Edge Lite 100A to replace it.

Our patch is in a beautiful spot with lovely scenery all round, particularly to the south where views over the Solent and on to the Isle of Wight can be enjoyed.  Late one Friday afternoon I noticed a glorious sunset starting to form and thought what a lovely photo it would make for Patch News. There’s always someone to pee on your parade…

Time now for this month’s video, most of which was filmed by Captain ‘Heavy Breather’ Slow:Please watch the video full screen, it’s so much better with small models flying around. If the video won’t play for you click HERE

This month’s Finishing Funny comes from Dougal Entendre:

The flight attendant sees a suspicious looking couple on board, so she reports it to the Captain immediately.

“Sir, I think we have a case of human trafficking! There is a very pretty, hot and sexy female passenger on board who looks quite frightened, and the man she is with is a fat old slob who looks like a lecher, very sullen, mean and dangerous!”

The Captain responds, “Patricia, I’ve told you this before. This is Air Force One…”

Colin Cowplain

14 Responses to “Patch News – January 2019”

  • Dougal Entendre Says:
    February 1st, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    Great Patch News as ever Colin, and an excellent video too. The vertical take-off with the SU-27 was very impressive, and looks quite safe too with just the nose being held. Of course, I always hold my nose when I’m in the vicinity of those foamboard jets…

  • Colin-Cowplain Says:
    February 1st, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    Haha, you know you’re just feeling left out Dougal. Don’t worry, Angie will let you buy one soon so you can be one of the boys again!

  • Capt Slow Says:
    February 2nd, 2019 at 9:32 am

    ###### parachutes! Firstly Mr Cowplain failed to admit to loosing two in trees by the lane and then getting his recovery wheel and rope stuck whilst attempting to get them back. Secondly, to misquote: no sane aeromoddeller drops paracutes!

  • Colin-Cowplain Says:
    February 2nd, 2019 at 6:16 pm

    Firstly….er…true! But I did get the parachutes and wheel (weight) back eventually. Secondly, you can’t spell 🙂

  • Capt Slow Says:
    February 2nd, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    I noted my error and thought “what the hell”; paracutes is quite apt as any other derogatory term I might wish to use couldn’t be printed.

  • Colin-Cowplain Says:
    February 2nd, 2019 at 10:26 pm


  • Capt Slow Says:
    February 2nd, 2019 at 10:41 pm

    That was just to make sure you were reading the comments……..

  • Colin-Cowplain Says:
    February 2nd, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    LOL! Of course I could simply correct them…or put in other errors 🙂

  • Dougal Entendre Says:
    February 3rd, 2019 at 8:08 am

    Also “loosing” (or did Colin put that one in?)

  • Colin-Cowplain Says:
    February 3rd, 2019 at 9:12 am

    I’ll be forced to correct Capt. Slow’s spelling if he doesn’t improve, it’s embarrassing 😉

  • Capt Slow Says:
    February 3rd, 2019 at 5:08 pm

    Dear Colin, may I point out that “if you live in a glass house you shouldn’t throw stones”. In the Blog I have found at least one spelling error and a number of instances of incorrect punctuation!

  • Colin-Cowplain Says:
    February 3rd, 2019 at 6:14 pm

    What’s the spelling error?

  • Colin-Cowplain Says:
    February 3rd, 2019 at 6:55 pm

    Now corrected, thank you Capt. Slow 🙂

  • Steve hastings Says:
    February 6th, 2019 at 6:12 pm

    Nice one Colin,John is used to seeing the little things.