Patch News – March 2019

After the unseasonable February weather normal service was resumed in March. Overall it wasn’t bad although there was one week of continual high winds and torrential rain which just happened to be the week I was in Marrakech! Farmer George put the bullocks in the field mid-month and, being a new young herd, they were very inquisitive and frisky. Some of us were in the field flying when the bullocks arrived and we only just managed to get the fence up round the patch before they reached us. There was lots of laughter as they discovered what an electric fence does! The fence is working well and, unlike the surrounding area, the patch is still in pristine condition. The Farts have cut the grass several times in March and it really is as good as it’s ever been at the moment.

At the end of February Norwegian Nick flew his Kavan Bird of Prey, it’s previous outing being back in January 2016. The Bird of Prey is a long discontinued kit that has a fibreglass fuselage and obechi veneered foam wings. The wingspan is approximately 58” and the all up weight is around 2lb 14ozs. Back in 2016 Nick was running a different fan/motor/battery set-up and although the model flew ok it seemed to make a lot of noise but lacked power. So now Nick has fitted a Mega 16 EDF motor, a YEP 60A esc and is using a 4 cell lipo instead of the original 3 cell.He also made and fitted a thrust tube out of glass fibre cloth to make the whole thing more efficient.It certainly worked as the model now has much more power and is significantly quieter. It flies really well and I expect we’ll see a lot of it through the summer months. You can see it flying in this month’s video.

On the 3rd of the month those of us who are on WhatsApp were alerted by Bob the Builder to a massive price reduction of the HobbyKing foamboard models. Various ones were in the sale including the popular Sukhoi SU-27 and Mig-29 and the prices were ridiculous, the SU-27s were slashed to £1.68 and the others were in a similar range.Bob ordered himself a couple of SU-27s, Woody went for an F-4 Phantom, and I jumped in quick with an order for six SU-27s, one for me and five for raffle prizes. Once postage was factored in those six cost just £2.50 each, ridiculous! Great spot Bob, thank you, and it shows the worth of being on the club WhatsApp list.

I’m looking forward to seeing how Woody’s Phantom flies, it’s a little different to the SU-27s and Mig-29s in that it has a box fuselage and a pusher motor right at the back rather than the mid mounted engine of the others. Personally I prefer the look on the similar T-45, I’ll wait and see how the F-4 turns out and then I might be tempted.

Bob the builder wasted no time in putting one of his SU-27s together and brought it along to fly one midweek day.

But he noticed a problem, luckily before flying, and had to take it home again to repair. Can you spot the problem?A couple of days later he was back and the Sukhoi flew perfectly with little trimming or adjustments required. Bob is using a 2826 2200kV motor with a 7″ prop and has opened up the prop slot as usual and it works a treat, not too noisy at all. I’ve lost count of how many foamboard fighters there are now, at least sixteen and more on the way.

During February I played around dropping parachutists from my Bush Mule and was generally pretty pleased with the results, although I did have to make several trips to the bottom of the valley! Several times I dropped multiple parachutists but they were really a bit too big for the cargo bay and sometimes got jammed in the door. So this month I scoured the internet for smaller parachutists and discovered some that were not only about half the size but also incorporated smoke bombs. As they were smaller I figured they wouldn’t drift so far despite having to be dropped higher to allow the smoke bombs to discharge. They came in packs of eight and were about £24 including postage from China so I bought one pack to play with. I tested them on a rather murky day when Kryten was on hand with his camera and they worked fairly well although not all the smoke bombs worked properly and they all landed in the bottom field! Considering the height I dropped them from Kryten did well to snap a reasonable photo.The smoke bombs are replaceable items but spares can only be purchased in packs of twenty four so it would be rather expensive to do very often but meantime I can use the parachutists without the smoke. Maybe I’ll order some more smoke bombs and save them for special occasions.

Last month I featured Dougal Entendre’s new Tomahawk flying wing that is kitted out with FPV (First Person View) equipment. After the initial flights he fitted a pair of larger, ex-Wingnetic, fins to aid stability and got on pretty well with the FPV flying. But he was getting lots of signal break-up so ordered a few different pieces of equipment.I was fascinated by the FPV and ordered some gear for myself, leaning heavily on Dougal for advice. It’s quite a steep learning curve as neither of us really know much about it but in March we both managed several successful flights and began to feel reasonably at ease while flying. So what do you need? A basic set-up consists of a small camera to mount on the model, a transmitter (with an antenna) that sends the images back to a pair of goggles that are fitted with a receiver, and a video recorder (DVR) if you want to record what you see in the goggles. We both have diversity goggles which means the receiver has two antennae and uses whichever one is receiving the strongest signal at the time. Dougal’s goggles have a built-in battery but mine use a separate three cell lipo. Comparing the goggles mine seem to have a slightly better screen image but Dougal’s have a better DVR. We are still very much at the learning and experimenting stage and the antennae seem to have quite a large effect on the performance. Both our systems work on 5.8GHz, so avoiding any interference with our 2.4GHz RC sets, various other frequencies can be used but 5.8 is the most common. Watching Dougal’s 26” span flying wing made me think I needed something rather larger and slower to start with. Obviously you don’t want something that has a propeller in front of the camera and I eventually decided to fit the gear to my foamboard Sukhoi SU-27. As it’s a very cheap foamboard plane it doesn’t matter too much if I break it, it has a centrally mounted motor so the propeller isn’t a problem, and it will fly slowly when required. It’s not the perfect model, something like a Bixler would be better but I don’t have one. My Bush Mule twin would be perfect but I don’t want to risk crashing it while I’m learning. As I’m able to fly midweek I’ve been able to get more FPV flights in than Dougal and I think the Sukhoi is probably easier to fly. I’ve found the temptation is to fly at slow speed and unintentionally pull in up elevator at which point the plane simply stops moving forward so now I force myself to fly faster and lower. It is essential (legally and sensibly) to have a spotter alongside the pilot and stay in line of sight view so they can take control if there’s a problem with the FPV. Now we are getting more used to flying FPV we find it tempting to fly further away than we should (we can see perfectly well where we are) which causes shouts of “Turn NOW” etc. from the helper, (in my case mostly Captain Slow) very amusing!. There is some footage from both models in this month’s video.

If you fancy having a go at FPV a HobbyKing Bixler is the perfect model to begin with and Stanley Knife has one.It’s a simple but efficient electric glider style model with a high mounted pusher prop so ideal for FPV. Stanley’s is a Bixler 2 but HobbyKing still sell the original Bixler 1 and also the latest version, the Bixler 3. They’ve grown in size with each version, the Bixler 1 being 1400mm span, the 2 is 1500mm spam, and the 3 is 1550 span. Version 3 comes with an undercarriage but an aftermarket undercarriage is available for versions 1 & 2 if you want one. It’s become Stanley’s model of choice when he wants to fly something gentle and I can see why, it flies extremely well.

A little while ago Dwayne Pipe announced his intention to build a TSR2. He knew I’d built an electric powered pusher version many years ago and picked my brains about it. I built mine in 1992 from a Jeremy Collins plan that was featured in RCM&E and it was designed for an IC engine, ‘minimum power OS25FSR’ was stated. I made lots of changes to make mine lighter but kept the outline the same as the plan. Originally it flew on a 7 cell NiCad pack but the power was marginal so I altered it to take 10 cells and then it flew well.In those days it simply wasn’t possible to have a ducted fan version but times have changed and that’s what Dwayne intended to try. He planned to use a HobbyKing 70mm 5 bladed ducted fan sold as a spare for their Durafly Vampire with a 3300Kv motor so he scaled down the fuselage a little to suit the fan housing and save weight but kept the original 30” wingspan. Mine had an all moving tailplane as per the full-size but the mechanism would have been in the way of the fan so Dwayne’s has a fixed tailplane with elevators. The TSR2 has very small intakes that are made even smaller by inlet cones so Dwayne has added a series of cheater holes in the fuselage sides under the wing. The fuselage has plenty of room for a 4 cell lipo of either 2200mAh or 3300mAh capacity and he’s using a 60A speed controller. At full throttle the motor pulls 49A and the fan gives 2lb 6oz of thrust which is the same as the weight of the model with a 2200mAh battery.So does it fly? Yes, and it’s surprisingly similar to mine all those years ago. It takes a good heave to get away from the launch but once it’s away it goes well. It rolls well and even inverted flight is ok but it won’t loop. Well it might after a 500ft dive but not from level flight, it gets to vertical and just stops, exactly like mine used to. But it’s superb at fast low passes and really looks the part during those. Dwayne is going to enlarge the cheater holes to try to get a bit more thrust and also has some covers for them so they don’t look like airliner windows! He’s also increasing the size of the elevators and will try moving the centre of gravity back a little. But even before the mods it’s a great success and you can see parts of the first three flights in this month’s video. UPDATE: On 28th March, having carried out the mods I mentioned above, Dwayne had a further two flights with the TSR2. It went away from launch much better both times, had a bit more power and it will now loop. Superb!

Dougal Entendre got tempted by a little F3A (pattern ship) called Skylark on the Banggood website. Banggood describe it as a trainer so Dougal should just about be able to cope with it! I assume they mean an aerobatic trainer as it’s most definitely not a model for beginners. It’s available in blue, green, or red colour schemes and Dougal plumped for a blue one. The model is a 950mm span EPO foamie and comes as airframe only, all the electrics have to be provided by the builder. Dougal doesn’t rate Banggood packaging as the box was quite badly knocked about when it arrived and one end was completely open, presumably where it had been inspected by customs. The model inside was a bit bashed cosmetically but basically sound so Dougal put in a lot of effort to get his son Cameron to assemble it for him…lazy bugger! The instructions call for a 2216 motor, 40A esc and a 9×6 prop. This is all powered by a 2200mAh 3 cell lipo that also powers the receiver and 4 x 9g servos.It’s a pretty little model and certainly looks as if it should fly well. But the initial take-off proved ‘interesting’, the Skylark was way out of trim and it took a couple of minutes for Dougal to tame it. But once trimmed it seemed reasonable and, having done a bit of sorting later at home, the next time out it flew very nicely. I think it will prove to be a good all round model well suited to our field. The hairy first flight is in the video.

You may remember that at the end of December Matt Takhar’s Velox misbehaved itself (nothing to do with the pilot obviously…) and required a new fuselage. At 81” wingspan the Velox is a large impressive model that’s powered by an Xpwr 40 (40cc equivalent) motor running on 12 cells and has a Castle Phoenix Edge HV120 speed controller. The gear was all transferred into a new fuselage by ProBuild who put the first one together and Matt did a bit of tarting up with some new stickers. So in March the model was brought out once again and the first flight went perfectly. It has an impressive amount of power and really eats up the sky which makes it difficult to video but I got some of it. But during the second flight there was a bang and I thought the motor had kicked the prop loose. Matt called dead-stick and headed for the patch but on the approach we saw a sudden ball of flame followed by a plume of smoke! Matt did very well to make a perfect landing on the patch and Nick rushed over to disconnect the battery.Fortunately there was no fire and the ball of flame turned out to be the speed controller exploding! The model survived unscathed apart from some minor burn marks inside where the controller was mounted. Probuild/Castle Creations have agreed to replace the esc as apparently it’s not supposed to do that!

Speaking of fires: “No, I’m sure it’ll be perfectly alright, nothing can possibly go wrong”:“OOPS!”Don’t worry, I don’t know what the pall of smoke was but it was nothing to do with Woody or any of us!

Nothing to do with Petersfield Aero Modellers or the patch but I spotted a video that I thought you’d like to see. It is Gernot Bruckmann flying an indoor model and winning his 4th World Championship in a row. I saw him flying outdoors for Multiplex at the Multiplex Airshow in Germany two years ago which is odd as he uses Jeti radio, maybe with Multiplex servos. I have to say he’s not bad! The video is worth watching if only for the take-off: 


Kryten has just sent me some superb flying photos that he took last month. In particular Page Boy’s Harvard and Bob the Builder’s Tiger Moth look fantastic.

Monthly video time now, this month it includes helpings from Iven, Dougal, and Captain Slow, thanks chaps:

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

A chap was sitting at an airport bar when he noticed a beautiful woman sitting next to him. He thought to himself  “Wow, she’s so gorgeous she must be a flight attendant. But which airline does she work for?”

Hoping to pick her up, he leaned towards her and uttered the BA slogan: “To Fly. To Serve?” She gave him a blank, confused stare and he immediately thought to himself “Hmm, she doesn’t work for BA.”

A moment later, another slogan popped into his head. He leaned towards her again, “Something special in the air?” She gave him the same confused look. He mentally kicked himself, and scratched American Airlines off the list.

Next he tried the United Airlines slogan: “I would really love to fly your friendly skies?” This time the woman turned on him and screamed “What the *@#! do you want?”

The man smiled, then slumped back in his chair… “Ah yes, Ryanair”.

Colin Cowplain

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