Patch News – May 2019

First, as Capt. Edmund Blackadder once said, “We’re in the stickiest situation since Sticky the stick insect got stuck on a sticky bun”. Dougal Entendre sent me that quote to celebrate the emergence this month of the latest club model, the Sticky. More on that later, the month of May saw lots of other exciting things as well.

The month began with the resurgence of the Colin Cowplain Flyer Fitness Club. After letting the members relax for a month or so I did some more parachute drops from the Bush Mule. I never expect anyone to do the retrieving and everybody moans about it but they still go running off after the wayward chutes! One rather blustery day the wind was obviously going in totally different directions at different heights and on one drop all the chutes ended up in the valley and the next time they went way down over the lower field. That time Dougal went off in hot pursuit not realising just how far they would go. He returned, ages later, puffing, panting and moaning, and that evening sent me a Google Maps screenshot with the parachute tracking marked showing a distance of 650m from the patch.It didn’t sound too bad to me but I suppose there and back was 1.3km and it was uphill most of the way back. Anyway he failed, he only found five chutes, the sixth was last seen heading in the general directions of Chichester at a great height, much higher than when I dropped it! The things I do just to keep the members fit and healthy…

On 12th May the field was being used as a car park for the Sustainability Centre Green Fair so some of us visited the Mini Airshow that was being held at the Drone Zone base on Popham Airfield. It was called MA5 (Mini Airshow 5), and MA6 is already on the calendar for 9th May 2020. It’s billed as a drone racing event with some fixed wing aircraft as an aside but when we went the aircraft side seemed to be bigger than the drone racing.The drone racing was interesting for a while but didn’t really do much for me although the people were very friendly and keen to tell us all about it. The aircraft side of things was really good with a fair cross-section of models from Wot-4s through to enormous turbines. Some of the display flying was excellent, I always find the turbines impressive and there were also several large WW1 aircraft that were nicely built and flown well. Several large 3D machines powered by petrol engines were very ably flown, some with smoke systems. About the only thing lacking were the trade stands, there was just one and that was all drone based bits and pieces although Dougal did manage to pick up a couple of speed controllers and some small props at good prices.

It was good to see Chas Butler return to the fold and fly regularly throughout the month. Chas must be one of the longest serving club members but had been absent from the flying field for a few years until this month. Chas is an excellent flyer with a B certificate and he gave sterling service as the club Secretary for twenty one years before deciding he’d done his bit and taking a step back. He’s returned flying a Radian electric glider and an electric Wot-4 and using a JR PCM9 transmitter with a 2.4GHz module. Later in the month he showed up sporting an extremely snazzy green transmitter which I believe is a JR XG11, very upmarket! Good to see you back Chas, now just stop working and fly with the Midweekers!

Geoff Berry also flew with us again in May, this time with a Max Thrust Riot, a model that’s similar in many ways to a Wot-4. Geoff seemed to be enjoying it and was flying very well indeed, partly due no doubt to his lovely Multiplex Cockpit SX9 radio (same as mine!). I failed to get any photos of the Riot on the ground but I did take some video and Kryten took some lovely flying shots.

In the January Patch News I mentioned that for Christmas my daughter had bought me a couple of indoor skydiving ‘flights’ at iFly in Basingstoke. On their website it says “Turn Dad into a flying legend’, does she not know I already am one?! Anyway, in May I went and did my bit and thoroughly enjoyed it. Basically the set-up is a transparent vertical 14ft diameter wind tunnel with a mesh ‘floor’ to stop you falling to the bottom if the fans stop. The average height that you ‘fly’ at is about 6ft above the mesh but you can go up to a max 39ft. An instructor is in the tunnel the whole flight to keep the student in the right place and stable. The air speed is controlled by an operator who is watching what’s happening the whole time and they adjust the speed from between 90mph and 180mph. The experience begins with a pre-flight briefing where you’re taught what to expect, what to do, and basic hand signals. Then it’s time to get kitted up, all the necessary gear is included in the price of the flights. On the first flight I got generally accustomed to the experience of floating around in a 120mph gale and was shown the correct position to hover mostly unaided. Before the second flight I was offered the chance of flying up to the top of the tunnel (securely held by the instructor) for an extra £7, how could I refuse?The controller raises the air speed when signalled by the instructor and up you go, weird! It was all over far too quickly but I really enjoyed the whole experience. I was surprised how busy the place was considering it was a Monday morning in school term time, it’s a very popular experience. Have a look at the website HERE

Catapult King never shies away from tricky projects and in May he turned up with an SR-71 Blackbird.This is what Richard says about it:

Following on from the influx of mid prop jets recently I thought I would do a Depron ‘quicky’ build of some sort and came up with the SR-71 with a pusher prop (needless to say it turned out not to be so quick). A colleague found a 3D-view print which I exploded until I got a fuselage that would be fat enough to hold a 3s-2200 lipo. The power train was going to be from my old HK AXN.

Having printed this off, I cut out a silhouette of the plane which even then was bigger than planned. There are two CF tubes running the length of the fuselage and a triangle of CF spars to support the wings. In addition this was skinned with 2mm balsa on the top. I thought there would be a weak point where the fuse meets the wing so I put a 4mm ply section in here as that’s also where the battery would go. I placed the electrics around until I found suitable places for each piece then started building with Depron. The fuselage first and getting the shape of the cockpit area was horrid, then equally difficult was getting the engine nacelles and cones roughly correct, this is what made the ‘quicky’ not so quick. The plane is covered with black and red packing tape with mylar tape on the underside to protect the Depron on landing. 

I wasn’t sure how the air from the elevators would react as it immediately goes through the prop so initially all four control surfaces were set up as elevons and as we saw on the maiden flight there was far too much throw and it did have to come down like an arrow didn’t it? I wasn’t going for the Concord droopy nose look. Subsequently the front has been rebuilt with ply all the way back to the wing area. The inner control surfaces are now elevators but the outer surfaces still have 50% elevator mixed in to support them and the throws have been drastically reduced and I now have a plane that is almost there. The power train is a 3cell 2200 lipo, a 30amp ESC, the motor is a 2200Kv something (from the AXN) and a 6×4 prop. It’s certainly fast enough I just need to get that trim right as I’m not sure it was designed to do a pirouette as seen in the video. Oh, and it is awfully difficult to spot the orientation so when things go slightly wrong they tend to go very wrong very quickly! 

Thanks for that Richard, it was a brave undertaking and you’ve done really well to get it flying so well.

While holidaying in the Lake District Basher Bob went to a Splash-In and took a few photos for us all to enjoy. Thanks Bob, it looks like a good event, shame there isn’t something similar locally as I’m sure several of us would like to give flying from water a try. I doubt we’d get away with it on the Heath for more than a few minutes.

During the recent HobbyKing price slashing of the foamboard jets Woody picked up an F-4 Phantom for £1.68! The Phantom is different to the other jets as it has a rear mounted motor and a box fuselage instead of a profile one. Personally I don’t think it looks much like a Phantom, at the very least the tail should have anhedral. I think Woody only bought it because it come in Blue Angels colours and of course Woody being Woody he’s added lights. As the motor is at the back the model required a fair bit of nose weight, more being added after the first attempt at flight. I was the nominated test pilot and had just about got it somewhere near in trim when it suddenly just stopped flying and crashed, fortunately with very little damage. With some additional nose weight the second flight went much better although the wings appeared to be twisting in flight, on a low fly-by we could see and hear a slight fluttering, not good. After a couple of minutes I was downwind heading towards us when the model just suddenly dived into the deck, this time with major damage. I think I probably went to full throttle as I turned into wind and the wings suddenly twisted making the model uncontrollable. You can enjoy the crash for yourselves in the video!

Meanwhile the fun continues with the other jets, Woody had the motor come loose on his Sukhoi, very loose!And Basher Bob did an ‘alternative landing’ with his Sukhoi, don’t worry Bob, it’ll buff out ok!

As I mentioned last month Captain Slow has now bought some FPV equipment. He’s fitted the gear into his Multiplex Twinstar, an ideal plane for getting used to flying FPV. His initial set-up was a bit of a compromise with the FPV transmitter being stuffed back between the servos due to the short antenna. He’s since bought an antenna extension and has managed to fit the gear in a much better way. At the time of writing Captain Slow has only had a couple of FPV flights with the Twinstar and he’s discovered it’s not especially easy to fly FPV but it’s very easy to get a long way away rather quickly! With a little guidance from the spotter all was well and he landed safely back on the patch. More to follow…

Time to get all Sticky now. Sadly the Sticky didn’t prove as popular as previous club models and only five appeared for the judging at the May club meeting.Dougal produced one that used the old wing from his now defunct Spad which meant it lacked dihedral but gained ailerons. So it’s Stickyish really and that earned him the Most Original Design prize.Unsurprisingly Woody’s creation was finished in Blue Angels colours. He won the prize for Least Likely to Fly as both wings had a huge amount of washout. Later Basher Bob took the wings home to straighten them as best he could.The prize for the Best Looking Model went to Percy Vears for his Baron Von Stickthofen finished model, nice one.The other builders were John Warren, who finished his in the now familiar red and white Warren Inc. colour scheme, and Basher Bob who had built a scaled up version, Extremely Sticky maybe?

John couldn’t make the flying on the Sunday, he gave some pathetic excuse about sunning himself on the other side of the world! Dougal’s flew very well right from the start, the aileron wing definitely proved to be an advantage. Having had the wings straightened somewhat by Bob Woody’s Sticky flew reasonably well, it looks pretty good on the video but Dougal says it was a tricky Sticky. I’ve since had a go with it myself and I’m not sure what has changed but it didn’t fly well at all, maybe the wings have warped again. After a few adjustments I got it flying fairly well but then the motor came off mid-flight. Fortunately it landed on the patch with almost no damage. Percy Vears’ Sticky flew well on the second flight after the centre of gravity had been moved forward, and Basher’s larger version flew very well straight from the start and needed no trim adjustments at all, well done Bob. This month’s video will show you how they flew on the day, Dougal’s was definitely the best flier. No doubt John’s will be flown next month so I’ll let you know how it goes.

Gentleman Jim brought along a Wot-4 Foam-E Mk 2 + in May. I’ve lost track of all the different versions of Wot-4s that have been produced but this is what the advertising blurb says about this one:

The ever popular Chris Foss Wot4 Foam-E Mk2 has been updated into the MK2+. The previous Wot4 Foam-E gained a reputation as one of the best sports models available and the Mk2+ builds on that with numerous new features. The model comes supplied with a powerful pre-installed brushless outrunner motor, matching 40A brushless electronic speed controller and 4 x 9g micro servos. All you need to add is your preferred receiver/transmitter combo and a 3S 2200mAh Li-Po of your choice.

Like the previous version, the Mk2+ only requires minor assembly to get airborne. No glue is required, only a cross headed screwdriver, a 10mm spanner and some double sided tape to mount your receiver.

Buried inside the structure there are numerous changes to the internal design. The tailplane has been re-designed for improved styling with solid tips and inset elevators for improved style yet still providing good control authority.

The wing has an extra carbon wing spar and the fuselage has extra carbon bracing making the airframe even tougher. The tail wheel has also been re-designed to be bolted on, allowing easy removal if accidentally broken. The control surfaces use ‘live’ moulded foam hinges with plastic hinge re-enforcement for extra security and peace of mind. Just like the previous version the control surfaces have carbon fibre re-enforcement for optimal control authority.

Well it all sounds good but unfortunately Jim’s came with a twisted fuselage which meant the tailplane was badly out of line with the wings. Jim added some packing under one side of the tail to bring everything back in line and it’s fine now but Jim was less than impressed with the quality of the model in general. Anyway, it’s all ended up looking good, rather like every other Wot-4 really! Jim asked me to do the test flight and after a few clicks of trim it flew beautifully, one of the nicest models to fly that I can think of actually. I’d love to know how many Wot-4s have been produced over the years, I would imagine it’s now in the hundreds of thousands, so the basic design has to be good. I think Jim will enjoy this one for a long time.

Kryten took lots of excellent flying photos this month including the above Sticky ones. Here are some of his others:

Video time now which this month includes contributions from Dougal, Basher Bob, and Captain Slow:Please watch the video full screen, it’s so much better with small models flying around.

My girlfriend just asked me, “When we go to Egypt, can I go on a camel?” 
I said, “Of course you can” and booked it for her. She’s going tomorrow…
I’m leaving in three weeks and going by plane!

Colin Cowplain

4 Responses to “Patch News – May 2019”

  • 1066 Says:
    June 4th, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    Nice one as always Colin,

  • Dougal Entendre Says:
    June 5th, 2019 at 8:42 pm

    Great content Colin, and some really good photos! I particularly like Kryten’s picture of the Vampire (must be Keith’s?).
    Catapult King’s SR-71 is an amazing piece of aeromodelling, and it was a real privilege to fly it. Very challenging though, as you can probably tell!

  • Colin-Cowplain Says:
    June 6th, 2019 at 8:47 am

    Thanks Dougal. Yes the Vampire is Keith’s, some great pics by Kryten 🙂

  • Chas B Says:
    June 8th, 2019 at 11:47 am

    Thanks for another excellent newsletter. I also liked, a lot, the shot of the Vampire. Great to see Geoff enjoying some flying.