Patch News – February 2019

What a Fantastic February! The first Sunday of the month saw the field covered with a light dusting of snow whilst being bright and sunny with light winds, perfect for me to try the skis on my Bush Mule. The snow wasn’t very deep so wheeled models (and their pilots) coped with the conditions ok as well. A great day with a decent turnout. Later in the month we had a long spell of dry weather with light winds and a fair bit of sunshine. The last Sunday was absolutely glorious and we had thirteen flyers come out to play, I would think that’s a record for February. I played around with a couple of cameras on the Bush Mule throughout February and managed to capture some reasonable video of touch and go’s in the snow, general scenery, and also dropping parachutes later in the month. I also tried to get some air to air video with a camera on my SU-27 and had a very close encounter with Woody’s Mig-29! I’m afraid the quality of some of the screenshots from a cheap video camera is poor but you get the idea.

At the end of January, too late for the last Patch News, Matt Takhar flew his new 67” wingspan Pilot-RC Extra 330SC. It’s almost identical to Newbie Nick’s Extra that I featured last month but it’s a second generation model not a first. Matt has fitted a 470kV Potenza 60 motor with the HobbyWing speed controller and uses a 6 cell 5000mAh lipo battery. It swings a 20×8 wooden prop and, as you’ll see in this month video, has loads of power. The video is of the understandably cautious first flight and, like Nick, Matt is now getting more adventurous, flying lower, closer and more aggressively. The Extras are lightweight to the extreme, the structure really is only there to keep the various components apart and I would hate to see the result of even a heavy landing.

When we had the snow at the field many of us realised our lipos were suffering in the cold and not giving the power they do in warmer weather. I spotted a heated lipo bag on the HobbyKing website but it was out of stock. However, an alternative heater for R/C car tyres that doubles as a transmitter muff heater popped up on screen and figured I could warm my batteries in the muff and then keep my hands warm when flying for only around £13. It consists of an adjustable temperature controller connected to a pair of pads containing heater elements and the power is supplied by a 2 or 3 cell lipo. Having found the controller to be very sensitive I rewired the pads in series rather than parallel which made it more manageable. I fitted the system into my Turnigy muff with strips of Velcro so it’s easy to remove when not required. So, did it work? Yes perfectly, we haven’t had a single cold day since!

Yet more of the foamboard jets appeared in February, at the last count there were thirteen fourteen in the club.Gorgeous Gary, spurred on by the success of his Mig-29, has now built a Sukhoi SU-27. It’s one with the new colour scheme, quite bright rather than the original grey ones like mine but is otherwise an identical model. Gary has added a second carbon tube to stiffen up the tail end and he wasn’t keen on the unusual format of linked ailerons and elevators so has added a couple of extras servos and the surfaces are now all independent. When I put mine together I thought having them coupled the way HK suggest was very odd but it seems to work perfectly well. I haven’t flown Gary’s so I can’t say if it’s any better or not, it would be interesting to compare the two. As you’ll see in the video Gorgeous Gary enjoyed flying his Sukhoi in the snow, it certainly flies well and maybe the controls look more positive than mine. A little bird tells me he’s bought a second Mig to join his existing one…!

Shock horror, Captain Slow has also completed one of the new colour scheme Sukhoi SU-27s, a record two new models in two months! His is completely stock and just uses two servos to control the ailerons and elevators. All of these foamboard jets are using motors with a kV of around 2200 but Captain Slow had a 1400kV motor spare and decided to try it in his Sukhoi. The advantage of a lower kV motor is that it will swing a bigger diameter propeller and hopefully keep the noise down a bit. I think it’s fair to say that some of us doubted the lower kV motor would be any good but in fact the plane flies the same as all the others with the advantage that it’s a little quieter. At first he said he didn’t like it as much as the Mig-29 but has since got used to it and now loves it. They do fly surprisingly differently, both are good in their own way, the Mig is faster but the Sukhoi is better for high alpha stuff. I know the Mig is faster because Captain Slow decided to ram my Sukhoi from behind with his Mig! To be fair he’s probably never experienced anyone flying slower than him before. Dougal managed to capture the collision on video so you can watch it before deciding for yourself that it was Captain Slow’s fault. This is where they ended up.There was zero damage to my Sukhoi and just a small chunk out of the foamboard on Whacker Wheeley’s Mig where it hit my propeller. He’s replaced the chunk and added libellous markings!Despite his continual moaning about hating the foamboard jets 1066 has also succumbed to a new Sukhoi! He’s using the stock coupled aileron/elevator set up using just two servos. I’ve retro fitted one servo to move one rudder on mine but 1066 just had to go one better and he’s fitted two servos to operate two rudders. The rudders are quite effective, presumably two more so than one, and enable some very strange manoeuvres to be performed once you get used to them. After 1066 dripped on that his Sukhoi wasn’t nice to fly I took a look at it and decided his CG was about 6” too far back…well maybe not that much but it was certainly a long way rearward.Having checked out the locations of the radio gear and battery on all the other SU-27s he’s since repositioned everything to bring the CG forward to the correct place and now begrudgingly admits that he’s enjoying flying it!

Yet another foamboard jet, this time it’s an F-35 Lightning which was put together by Cream Egg. I was asked to do the test flight and quickly discovered that Cream Egg’s batteries were past their best, although fully charged they didn’t provide enough current to fly the F-35. We tried it with one of my packs and it flew fine after a few tweaks to the movements and trims. The only problem was that it was very noisy, the centre mounted motor makes all these foamboard jets noisy and the propeller slot needs to be enlarged to lower the noise.Cream Egg has cut the slot a little but the propeller tips are still close to the foamboard and that’s what causes the noise. No problem, a couple of minutes work cutting the foam well clear of the front of the propeller will sort it out.

There are some videos on YouTube of a chap who’s added an undercarriage made from plastic tie-wraps to his foamboard jets and Cream Egg has copied the idea. In the videos the guy is taking off from tarmac and the jets skid along on the plastic loops but I’m not sure they’ll work on grass. But nothing ventured nothing gained, we’ll see… In the photo of the underside you can also see how Cream Egg has mounted the servos. Er…the servos are supposed to go in the cut outs in the sides of the ‘fuselage’, or maybe I’m missing something? Newbie Nick also has an F-35 and it flies well so no doubt Cream Egg’s F-35 will soon be joining all the other hooligans careering around the sky.

Dougal Entendre has been hankering after an FPV (First Person View) model for a while. He had a go at it with his old Olympic glider a while back but he was using the rather small screen on his Devention transmitter rather than proper goggles to view the transmitted video stream. The system worked but he found the screen difficult to see, especially in bright sunlight, so he asked Mrs Christmas (Angie) for a pair of goggles. Sure enough a pair of Crazepony VR008 Pro FPV goggles with built-in digital video recorder turned up in his Christmas stocking. (I would normally make a comment at this point about stockings and Tranny Agate but he’s getting fed up with it so I won’t). He bought a Durafly Tomahawk from HobbyKing which is designed for FPV racing and fitted it out with the camera and transmitter from the Olympic. The first flights were on the snowy Sunday and Dougal flew the model in the normal manner (not using the FPV) and quickly discovered that the Tomahawk was a bit of a handful. Well it is advertised as a Mini Racing Wing so that wasn’t totally unexpected I suppose. Kryten was monitoring the FPV via the goggles and reported that it all worked well as long as the model didn’t get too far away. Dougal decided the Tomahawk needed more fin area so back in the workshop he fitted it with a couple of cut down fins from his now defunct Wingnetic. The photo shows the mock-up before the fins were cut down.Next time out it flew much more steadily and he decided to try flying it FPV with me as the obligatory ‘competent observer’. All went well, better than I expected actually, and Dougal had a couple of flights totally unaided other than a few comments from me if I felt he was getting a bit too far away, he even landed safely back on the patch.Having watched the onboard recording of the second flight I was surprised to see that the model was actually flying much closer to us than I’d thought but as it’s only 670mm (26”) wingspan it was bound to look small to me. You can see in the video that there’s some signal break-up which Dougal said didn’t happen on the first flight when the DVR wasn’t running so maybe the DVR is a source of interference. Dougal is planning a few changes to the set-up and then more flights will follow. I fancy having a go at FPV myself and have ordered some equipment…watch this space!

Not one to hang around 1066 hasn’t just built a foamboard SU-27, he’s also built a lovely little HK Mini Edge 540T.It’s one of their ‘EPP skins over a ply and carbon framework’ type of model that has now sadly been discontinued, 1066 has had the kit in his loft for a while. The Edge is 935mm (36.8”) wingspan and 1066 has fitted a 28mm 1400kV motor, a 10×4 prop, and a 50A speed controller. He uses a 3 cell 22mAh lipo which gives decent length flights. It flies brilliantly and in the video you’ll see it knife-edging from horizon to horizon.

Stanley Knife has put together this lovely looking ASW-28 that he won in a recent club big raffle. The 2540mm wingspan electric glider comes as a plug and fly model with all the electronics pre-installed. The motor is a 4018-850kV outrunner, the ESC is a 30A with BEC, and there are 6 x 9g servos controlling ailerons, rudder, elevator, and flaps. The fuselage is blow moulded plastic and the wings and tail are moulded in EPO foam.Stanley is using an 1800mAh 3 cell lipo but as you can see there’s loads of room for a bigger battery if required. The ASW flies beautifully, it’s certainly not overpowered but performs gentle scale-like aerobatics very nicely.

Now for something a bit special, Page Boy has treated himself to a Freewing Bae Hawk T1 in the Red Arrows colours. The 1020mm (40”) wingspan plug and play EPO foam model uses a 12 bladed 70mm diameter fan that’s spun by a brushless inrunner motor connected to an 80A speed controller and a 6 cell 4000mAh battery. That set-up provides a lot of thrust but has a very quiet turbine like sound. The Hawk is a very high quality model and looks fantastic with it’s lights, flaps, and retracts as standard and Page Boy’s came with the upgraded sprung undercarriage oleo set.Page Boy asked me to do the maiden flight as he’s never flown a ducted fan model before. The Hawk took-off from the patch nicely with half flap (the grass is in great condition at the moment) and required little trim to fly straight and level. With the wheels retracted she’s quite fast flat out but she’ll also fly slowly when throttled back and I didn’t find any handling problems. Page Boy had a quick go on the first flight before handing the transmitter back to me for the landing and she came in beautifully with full flap and landed gently on the patch. He had longer on the controls on the second flight and seemed to be getting the feel of ducted fan flying. I love it…want one…!

This Patch News includes contributions from Dougal Entendre, Captain Slow, Iven, Kryten, Gorgeous Gary, and Catapult King, thanks chaps.

Flying photo time:

Time now for this month’s video: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 February Funny was sent in by Bob the Builder:

Yesterday my daughter emailed me, asking why I didn’t do something useful with my time. She said she was ‘only thinking of me’ and suggested I go down to the Pensioner Centre and hang out with other chaps my age.
So later I replied to her email saying that I’d been and had joined the Seniors Parachute Club.
She wrote back, ‘Are you mad? You’re much too old now, you can’t start jumping out of aeroplanes!’
Sensing that she didn’t believe me, I told her that I even had a Membership Card and emailed a copy to her.
Immediately, she rang me and yelled, “Good grief, Dad, where are your glasses? This is a membership to a Prostitute Club, not a Parachute Club!” 
“Oh dear, ” I said, “I signed up for five jumps a week!”
The line went dead…

Colin Cowplain

14 Responses to “Patch News – February 2019”

  • pageboy Says:
    March 1st, 2019 at 11:12 am

    absolutely brilliant colin. enjoyed every bit of that lots of great pictures. also enjoyed the video with the cameras on the planes! excellent..

    a BIG THANKYOU!! from me to all the farts that have made the patch a real pleasure to fly from!!!I know on the couple of occasions ive made it there on a Friday that the roller gets bl**dy heavy!

  • Matt Takhar Says:
    March 1st, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    Another great patch news!

    Let’s get some video of the Extra flying a bit lower 🙂

  • Colin-Cowplain Says:
    March 2nd, 2019 at 9:24 am

    Glad you enjoyed it chaps 🙂 Perhaps I should explain that the farts are the Friday Afternoon Rural Trimming Society who maintain the patch, mowing and rolling regularly. We mowed again yesterday, it’s looking good. Hopefully I’ll get some better video of the Extras over the next few weeks Matt. The trouble is they cover a large area in flight, not easy to video with a mobile phone!

  • Dougal Entendre Says:
    March 3rd, 2019 at 9:25 pm

    Excellent Patch News, Colin, but I’m wondering how much 1066 must have paid you to leave out the bit about why his foamboard Sukhoi had such rubbish performance on its first flight. Surely you didn’t want to spare his embarrassment?

  • Colin-Cowplain Says:
    March 3rd, 2019 at 10:40 pm

    What you mean that he had the prop on back to front! I don’t want to upset him so I’m not going to mention it…oops! Actually to be fair several others have done it as well.

  • Woody Says:
    March 4th, 2019 at 11:29 am

    Yet another excellent patch news Colin.
    Hands up I put my prop on back to front.
    Happens to the best of us.

  • 1066 Says:
    March 5th, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    Comment number five just influenced my review of this patch news,what a load of mindless drivel,you could have tried harder 🙂

  • Colin-Cowplain Says:
    March 5th, 2019 at 8:49 pm

    dluohs I etirw ti sdrawkcab?

  • Capt Slow Says:
    March 6th, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    Dear Colin, an excellent blog however you need to refer to a dictionary. For a statement to be libellous it needs to misrepresent the facts and, as you yourself admitted, the damage to my Mig was caused by your SU 27; QED

  • Colin-Cowplain Says:
    March 7th, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    “it hit my propeller.” NOT “my propeller hit it.” And I’m far too thick to know about quod erat demonstrandum, I only did a couple of years of Latin at school. Te amo!

  • Capt. Slow Says:
    March 7th, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    Oh dear, this could become a long running saga if I had the inclination. Fault isn’t the issue. Had my Mig hit another part of your Su 27, it’s possible that no damage would have occurred. It was the Su 27’s prop that caused the damage, hence my marking which cannot be libellous. Defamation of character – which you deserve – is another matter.

  • Colin-Cowplain Says:
    March 8th, 2019 at 10:50 pm

    I think you’re going to out write me! From your last comment I reckon you should have put SU-27 instead of AP. But I’m enjoying the comments anyway 🙂

  • Capt Slow Says:
    March 11th, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    Colin, it may come as a surprise to you that I don’t disagree with your last comment and have amended the inscription to read: “AP’s SU-27”.

  • Colin-Cowplain Says:
    March 11th, 2019 at 9:24 pm

    Haha! 😀