August has come and gone and so have the bullocks. As expected they returned to our field early in the month but have now moved on again. Woody seemed to prefer staying with the bullocks rather than joining the pilots. The bullocks’ departure may have been helped by a car smashing into the gate post and preventing the gate closing properly. One unkind wit was heard to mention that they didn’t realise Basher Bob drove a small red Peugeot…Farmer George has ‘topped’ the field, and according to Google Regular topping helps to maintain a good quality grass sward which has many benefits for both your land and your animals. Fortunately he left the patch alone and our regular mowing is doing an excellent job of maintaining a good quality grass without topping. We can’t see any sign of the topping from ground level but it’s very noticeable from the air when flying FPV.The weather was good for most of the month although one Sunday was lost due to wind and rain. As I was away that week I didn’t care! The August Bank Holiday weekend saw record breaking high temperatures and light wind, perfect for us and for the BMFA Nationals being held at Barkston Heath. The Nationals even made the BBC! It’s HERE
The hot weather brought out lots of bugs and I spotted a cute little grasshopper checking out my Volantex Ranger.Unfortunately Dougal Entendre got bitten by a horsefly and ended up with a very swollen infected leg that prevented him from walking up to the patch for a while. Several courses of antibiotics sorted him out eventually.
Lots of new models made the most of the good weather and the first three I’ll feature all belong to Chuck Berry.His first is an MX2 from HobbyKing, a 955mm span 3D model made mostly from EPP. It comes as an ARF so Chuck added a Turnigy Aerodrive 1050kv motor, a 30A HobbyKing speed controller and a 10×4.7 carbon fibre prop.The battery used is a surprisingly small 3 cell 1300mAh lipo. 1066 has been flying one of these for a while and found it to be an excellent 3D model. Chuck’s also flies very well so we expect to see him prop hanging it very soon.
Chuck’s second new model was yet another foamboard Sukhoi SU-27 from HobbyKing. I included a couple of photos of the Sukhoi last month but Chuck had found a problem with one of the linkages so it hadn’t flown.He is using a Turnigy D2205 2300kv motor with 30A HobbyKing speed controller and a 3 cell 1300mAh lipo.Like me Chuck has fitted a single rudder to one of the fins, it works well and Chuck is able to do the high alpha manoeuvres well. These foamboard models bring out the hooligan in pilots and the target often seems to be Captain Slow. But unlike my gentle touches Chuck went the whole hog and took half the fin off Captain Slow’s Sukhoi.Well done Chuck, keep it up! Sadly it didn’t quite all go Chuck’s way though, this was one of his ‘landings’.But the foamboard range of models are all surprisingly tough and there was no damage to the Sukhoi this time.
And last but definitely not least of Chuck’s new fleet is an FMS Edge 540, a 1320mm span Plug’N’Play model.It comes ready fitted with an FMS 3948-KV760 motor turning a 3 blade 13×5 prop, a 60A speed controller and four 17g metal gear servos. Chuck is using 4 cell 2700mAh lipo packs which give a flight time of around 6 minutes. It’s certainly well rated and seemed to fly very nicely when I did the test flight. It needs Dougal Entendre or 1066 to properly check out the 3D capabilities but it did everything I tried easily enough. Bad news if you’d like one of your own, I’m afraid it’s been discontinued. You can see all three of Chuck’s new models flying in this month’s video.
It’s Bob the Builder’s turn now, he’s got himself a two metre span Volantex Phoenix 2000 V2 glider from HobbyKing.I can’t find anything that lists the differences between the V1 and the V2, the most obvious sign is that the V2 has a very nice wheel mounted in a new fuselage moulding. Apparently the tail has been redesigned to make it stronger and it comes with flaps as standard, I think the flaps were extra on the V1. The fuselage is made from blow moulded plastic and the wings and tail are EPO foam. Bob flew the model in its’ original Plug’N’Play form but he very quickly decided he wanted more power and swapped out the original 28mm 1050kv motor for a much more powerful one.After doing some research he chose a Turnigy SK3 GliderDrive of 1400kv. The GliderDrive motor is effectively an outrunner in a can meaning that the outside of the motor does not spin so it’s ideal for the slim nose of a glider. At the moment Bob is still using the original 10×6 folding prop and he’s changed the original 30A esc to a 50A one.The previous motor gave 300W on 3 cells, the new one gives 450W on 3 cells and 700W on 4 cells, although he hasn’t flown it on 4 cells yet. Bob has also added more colour to both the top and underside of the wings.
Next up is another ‘proper’ model builder, John Warren. This time John has built a 66inch span Jocasta from a plan in RCME in October 2014. The 66” span all built-up high wing model was designed by Jim Newbury and John has equipped his with the 4-Max recommended set-up consisting of a 3547 800kv motor, a 60A esc, and a 12×6 prop. It runs on a 3 cell lipo and pulls 29A at full throttle, giving around 250W. A 3 cell lipo is nominally 11.1v so at 29A the wattage should be around 320W, so 250W is probably a good average figure with a partly discharged lipo. The model weighs almost 5lbs so we thought it might be a bit marginal with that power but it takes off nicely and happily stooges around on half throttle with no problems. Dougal Entendre did the test flight which was fine until the battery died unexpectedly early. He got the model safely back on the ground with no damage and our thoughts were that perhaps John’s batteries were past their best and unable to deliver the power they should but subsequently the flights have been much longer and the packs have had plenty left in them so maybe that first one just hadn’t received a full charge. John has made a lovely job of the Jocasta and it flies well, a perfect model for John in fact.
Back to the foamboard jets now, Dwayne Pipe has put together an SU-27 and it’s…just like all the others!Well not quite actually, I asked Dwayne for some info on the model and this is what he said: It’s a pretty standard setup. 2200kv HobbyKing Turnigy 2826/6 motor with a HobbyKing 30A esc and a 6×4 prop powered by a 1300mAh battery. To reduce the noise, as well as the standard enlarging of the propeller slot, I glued some profiled balsa to the foamboard edges that face the prop wash. This was intended to have two effects: to provide extra strengthening to reduce vibration on the rear of the aircraft, and to stop the formation of Karman vortices which will generate vibration around any flat facing surface, like the edges of the foamboard, in the flowstream. (Look them up on Google). How effective this was remains to be seen.Well having seen (and heard) it fly I can safely say it’s certainly not any louder than the other SU-27s, not sure if it’s any quieter or not but it has to be worth trying. I might do the same on mine to see if I can notice a difference.
Chas Butler has become a regular attendee at the flying field again and is building up his fleet of models. His latest one is a Multiplex Extra 330SC designed by multiple world champion Gernot Bruckmann. The Extra is available in either kit form (ARTF) or Receiver Ready (RR). The RR version comes fitted with a Multiplex PERMAX BL-O 3520-920kv motor, a 55A esc, and four Hitec HS-82MG servos. At the time of writing it’s only had one flight and Chas was being very careful with it especially as he found the controls extremely sensitive. You can see it in this months’ video. This is what Chas has to say about his: Mine is a Receiver Ready version requiring just a receiver and a 3 cell 30C 2600mAh flight battery. I’ve installed a 6 channel JR PROPO DFA receiver and the battery used was an Overlander one of 2900mAh capacity. Since the maiden flight I’ve reduced the Aileron travel by 50% on rates with 50% Exponential and the Elevator by 25% on rates, also with 50% Exponential.
I’m just waiting now for the chance to fly it again. The first flight was very nervy but I’m sure that next time I will be more confident as that was the first flight for some years with any plane quite so responsive. I’ve seen Gernot Bruckmann flying one of these and know what a superb model they are so I expect to see Chas performing all kinds of crazy manoeuvres very soon.
The last new model is a Pichler HiSpeed belonging to 1066. It certainly looks nice but 1066 isn’t very happy with it. He bought it from RobotBirds and this is what their website says about it. The HiSpeed is the latest release in the Speed series designed and developed by Pichler, Germany. While this model is designed to offer breath-taking high-speed flights in excess of 200km/h it is also capable of slow-speed fly-bys and landings. This version is supplied as Plug-and-Play (PNP) needing minimal assembly. It is 95% pre-built and includes the recommended Pulsar C5066 P20-1300 brushless motor, 40A brushless ESC, fast 9g servos and a high-performance spinner/propeller. The main gripe 1066 has is that all the electrical parts (motor, esc, servos) weren’t already fitted, they were just included loose in the package. Also, although the website says it needs a 3 cell lipo and the esc is only rated for 3 cells the instruction say to use 4 cells for the best speed. The model flew nicely on the first flight and appeared to groove very well but it really wasn’t very fast, certainly nothing like 200km/h. For the second flight 1066 fitted a larger prop and it was a bit faster but still not really what he was hoping for. He doesn’t have any 4 cell lipos so if he wants more speed he’ll have to buy some and also swap the esc for one that can handle 4 cells. Never mind, it looks good in the air and it’s quite fast enough for most PAM members! Check it out in this months’ video.
Kryten took lots of excellent flying photos with his quality camera this month, here’s a selection for you: Other photo and video contributors this month were Dougal Entendre and Captain Slow, thanks chaps. 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
Gatwick tower: “BA123, contact Departure on 124.7.”
BA123: “Tower, BA123 switching to Departure … by the way, after we lifted off, we saw some kind of dead animal on the far end of the runway.”
Tower: “EasyJet 456, cleared for take-off; did you copy the report from BA123?”
EasyJet 456: “EasyJet 456, cleared for take-off roger; and roger, we copied BA123, we’ve already notified our caterers.”