Patch News – June 2019

Well June has come and gone but if anyone was expecting summer they probably missed it. We did have some hot days at the end of the month but it was always quite windy. Not really what we would hope for in ‘flaming June’, maybe July will be better. The bullocks returned halfway through the month but they hardly ever bothered us.They have learnt not to touch the fence and if we put one round the pits area they avoid that even though most of the time it’s not actually turned on. Captain Slow’s favourite (number 73 that featured in the caption comp) has become even more friendly and actually wanders over to see him and be stroked now. Two words John: Beef burger. The patch is in great condition and has been mown regularly by the FARTS. Dougal Entendre seems to be taking things a little too seriously and was genuinely seen trimming around the box with a pair of scissors!

I’ll start the June report with an incident that actually happened on 31st May. This photo shows rather unusual damage to Dougal’s FPV Tomahawk flying wing. Note the chewed up aileron and fin and lack of propeller.Dougal had been following John Warren’s Sunday Flyer, a nice steady biplane that’s easy to follow but it’s fairly slow and Dougal inadvertently overtook it. The trouble with FPV is that once you overtake something you have no idea where it is, you can only see forwards, so when he throttled back to allow the Sunday Flyer to get in front again he didn’t realise he was in effect reversing into it! The impact did nothing to John’s model but its propeller inflicted the damage you can see on the Tomahawk. The FPV video captured the action and this photo taken from the video shows the moment the prop came off! I’ve rotated the photo 180 degrees, the model was actually inverted. The Tomahawk spun in to the deck, fortunately without further damage, but John’s Sunday Flyer carried serenely on as if nothing had happened. You can see it all happening in this month’s video.

Staying with FPV for a while Captain Slow re-positioned the FPV gear in his TwinStar after the initial couple of flights in May to make it a more user friendly layout, it was all a bit fiddly to access before but it’s much better now. The TwinStar has had dozens of non-FPV flights with no problems and seemed an obvious choice for a first FPV plane. The model is unusual in that it has old fashioned brushed motors rather than the now normal brushless outrunners.  That means it also has to have speed controllers suitable for brushed motors, again rather old fashioned items. When Captain Slow started flying it with FPV gear he suddenly found he was losing control and it seemed likely that it was just him not being used to flying with goggles although he thought something was wrong.Having come down near Harper’s Oak on one flight, fortunately with no damage, he asked me to take it up. All was ok at first but when I got a bit more adventurous I suddenly lost control. I throttled back and regained control but when I opened the throttle again I lost control again and the TwinStar crashed. It was damaged but repairable but we couldn’t work out what was wrong until Captain Slow did some tests at home and discovered that the BEC in the speed controller could only handle about 1A so as soon as more load was put on the servos the radio shutdown until the load was reduced. It’s odd that the problem had never showed up before fitting the FPV gear, we can only think that the extra load plus probably more use of the servos and higher throttle settings for FPV tipped the balance. Pre-FPV Captain Slow only ever really stooged around very gently, as is his wont, so presumably he never hit the limit of the BEC. Anyway he’s now putting together another model, a Sonic Modell Mini Skyhunter which is designed for FPV.This was how it was coming along mid-June, should be ready sometime in July…2025.

Iven has been splashing out lately…quite literally, he’s bought himself an Ares Gamma along with a set of matching floats and also a set of floats for his E-Flite Apprentice. Iven keeps a boat on the Thames that he visits most weekends during the summer and he thought floats would be an ideal way of flying while he’s there. Bearing in mind that he’s only just learnt to fly and passed his ‘A’ cert the floats have so far proved a step too far for his abilities but he’s getting there. In the meantime he’s been flying ashore, alongside the Thames, mostly successfully. He’s found that the Gamma is really only suitable for light winds and it becomes difficult to control in much of a breeze.He’s also bought a couple of the tiny E-Flite AS3X (3 axis stabilisation) models, the latest one being a UMX Timber.It’s 700mm wingspan, has the usual 4 channel control plus flaps yet only weighs 121g (4.3oz). It has a ‘brick’ style 6 channel rx/gyro/esc/2 servos in the fuselage, lightweight aileron servos, and a centrally mounted flap servo. The radio and 3000kv motor are powered by a 2 cell 280 mAh lipo battery which also powers the LED NAV lights, landing lights, wing-tip strobes and beacons so it should be ok for night flying. This tiny model has the lot!It also has optional plug-in leading edge slats just in case the flaps don’t slow it down enough for you.

Of course landing in a tree isn’t something that only happens to beginners…is it Dougal?!Dougal’s incident happened one very showery Sunday morning when some of us dashed from the barn during a brief dry spell and flew just east of the patch. I’d just pointed out to the others that we had positioned ourselves directly downwind of a tree when Dougal did his signature low inverted pass straight into the tree! Once we’d all stopped laughing 1066 went into tree climbing mode and managed to safely retrieve the undamaged Sticky. We’ve had Harper’s Oak for many years, now it seems we also have Dougal’s Deciduous!

I was away for a few days in early June but Captain Slow took some photos and video of some new models brought along by Newbie Nick and Matt Takhar. They both have Precision Aerobatics Addictions and when I asked Nick about them he said his is the larger Addition X finished in green covering and Matt has a little pink one! The Addiction X is 1270mm span and is powered by Thrust 40 motor connected to a 45A esc and a 3 cell 2200mAh lipo. Matt’s little pink one is 1000mm span and uses a Thrust 20 motor, a 30A esc and a 3 cell 2200mAh lipo. Looking at Captain Slow’s video they both performed very well, I’ve included some snippets in this month’s video.

Matt’s other new model is an Extreme Flight Laser EXP V2. It’s 60” span and according to the website it weighs around 5.5 – 6.0lbs. Matt hasn’t sent me any details yet but I know he’s swanned off to New York for a few days muttering some pathetic excuse about work so I suppose he can be forgiven. The stock set-up uses a Torque 4016/500 MKII Outrunner, Airboss 80 esc, a Xoar 16 x 7 prop, and a 6S 3300- 4000mAh lipo. I forward to seeing  the new models myself and will hopefully get some more info and video soon.

Captain Slow had an exciting moment while flying his Extreme one morning, there was a sudden bang and the motor ripped out! He managed to land without further damage and retrieved all the parts that came off.The model comes with the motor pre-installed, clamped in place between two pieces of foam but Captain Slow found a distinct lack of glue around the area, a problem that he has now rectified with copious amounts of sticky stuff!

Norwegian Nick can always be relied on to build interesting models and his latest is an English Electric Lightning. This is what Nick says about it: I had some scraps of Depron left over from earlier projects so I looked through some old Q&EF mags and found this Lightning and thought I would have a go as you do. It’s built from a free plan in the July 2009 mag designed by James Rutter. It’s a profile twin edf Lightning with a wingspan 16in, length 25in and weighs 8 1/2 oz. The two fans are GWS 40mm run by a pair of Feigao motors. The escs are 10amp run off a single 850mAh 3s lipo.
After having an intermittent power problem I found that the cable to one of the speed controllers was hanging by a thread. Repaired now and works fine. Also I have swapped everything over so the battery is on the right hand side which I hope will stop the left turn on launch. 
As Nick mentions there was a dodgy esc connection and when hand launched the model went to the left and plonked down in the grass. Not sure how much of it was caused by the connection and how much was due to most of the weight being on the left hand side of the fuselage. The connection problem prevented a second try that day but I’m sure it will be fine next time out, should look great in the air.

The foamboard fun continues and both Woody and Bob the Builder have put together new Sukhoi SU-27’s. We’ve been enjoying lots of close formation flying with up to four in the air at once and of course the inevitable touches sometimes occur. I’ve also managed to land mine on top of Captain Slow’s a couple of times!But the foamboard is remarkably strong and with the mid-mounted motors the props rarely hit anything so virtually no damage is done. Although Captain Slow did manage to make a few cuts in my Sukhoi the other day…the swine!

Early in June decided I needed an FPV model that was a bit more taxing to fly than my Sukhoi. The Sukhoi was a great choice for learning to fly FPV but I wanted something that was a bit faster and not quite so easy to handle and land. Looking around my vastly overcrowded model room I spotted my Delta, built from Correx several years ago as one of the annual club builds. It was always a good flier and quite fast but equally, being a delta, lands reasonably slowly. As it was built from around £2.50’s worth of Correx and has had hundreds of flights it’s also regarded as disposable, perfect for FPV in fact. So I swapped the FPV gear into it, the main difficulty being that having the motor at the front meant I had to fit the camera out on the wing to avoid looking through the propeller. That hasn’t proved to be a problem and I quite like being able to see the prop spinning (or not) through the goggles. Ever since Dougal and I started flying FPV we have been hoping for a day with low cloud to explore but it hasn’t happened…until one morning late in June. The Delta climbs rapidly and the cloud was low so I quickly reached it and found it to be quite dense, I could skirt along the underside but felt the model would disappear if I entered it properly. Spotter Captain Slow said he could still see the model easily enough so there weren’t any concerns. I did the same on the second flight with no problems but it was really the wrong sort of cloud, a bit like driving in fog.By the time of the third flight the cloud had lifted and there were areas of blue sky so I didn’t think I’d be able to reach the clouds but a couple of minutes into the flight I decided to give it a go. I soon reached some gloriously fluffing bits of cloud and was able to fly above some small patches and see blue sky above me and bits of the ground below me, great stuff. I got tempted by a lovely looking cloud formation a little further on and headed for it. Captain Slow was dripping on about me being a long way off but what the heck, I could see perfectly!A few seconds later he said he’d lost sight of me so I throttled back and came down out of the cloud. I still had a perfect view on the goggles but there was one tiny problem, I hadn’t got a clue where I was! I circled aimlessly, looking for something I recognised, aware that the timer was now telling me I had two minutes of battery left. I spotted some unrecognisable buildings and knew they weren’t anywhere near where I should be so I headed away from them. Now Captain Slow was telling me to climb in the hope that he might be able to see me but to add to my problems I could see the motor was stopping now and again, presumably the radio going into failsafe. The picture on the goggles was still good but I was getting yellow and red signal indicators instead of green so I knew I was at the limit of the FPV range. When I saw two red indicators I turned to try to get a better signal while desperately searching for a landmark. I tried to take notice of what I could see, the rounded end of a valley, a couple of circles in cut crop, a telegraph pole, a field boundary, and suddenly nothing! The inevitable happened, I saw the motor stop and the goggles lost signal as the plane was very low and heading steeply towards the deck. It’s all in the video…There were only three of us flying that morning, me, Captain Slow, and Geoff Berry. After a quick recap of where the model was last seen we headed up to the masts where the gliders fly, it seemed the most likely area to search. We spread out in different directions, I was looking for the landmarks I’d seen from the air and headed off north along the South Downs Way. Things started to get familiar, there was the rounded end of a valley, cut crop, a line of telegraph poles, a field boundary…and an undamaged Delta sat of top of the crop, phew!Looking at Google Maps later it shows the model land 1.16km from the patch, nothing wrong with the range then.The map is looking due north, the masts are over towards the right. Lesson learnt, listen to the spotter and don’t get carried away by a perfect picture on the goggles. Captain Slow says I should be renamed Colin CloudPlane.

Photo and video contributions this month come from Captain Slow, Dougal Entendre,  Gentleman Jim, and Gorgeous Gary. As well as models flying this month I’ve included some photos from the D-Day 75 Anniversary:

Video time now, please watch it full screen, it so much better with small models flying around:

If the video won’t play for you please click HERE

 

Terrified passenger to stewardess “How often do planes crash?”
Stewardess “Just the once!”

Colin Cowplain

5 Responses to “Patch News – June 2019”

  • 1066 Says:
    July 12th, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    Well done Patsie, great work as always, sorry for not commenting earlier.

  • Capt Slow Says:
    July 13th, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    An excellent blog; as usual, it is economical with the truth!!

  • Colin-Cowplain Says:
    July 15th, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    Thanks 1066 and Captain Slow. No point in being the writer of the blog of if I can’t ‘influence’ things a fraction!

  • Chas B Says:
    July 21st, 2019 at 11:33 am

    Apologies for my late response to the latest edition of “Patch News” but I’ve been busy with important stuff such as: flying, visiting airshows, building, eating, sleeping, flying, visiting airshows………. Very interesting pieces concerning certain members exploration of FPV. This could be the possible subject for a future club night presentation for the uninformed members like myself. Advice on equipment, suitable models, pitfalls and any other areas that maybe appropriate.

  • Dougal Entendre Says:
    July 21st, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    Good idea Chas! Patsie and I are pencilled in for the club night on September 5th, when we intend to talk about all things FPV.