I said in the last Patch News that September had started with great weather but finished with strong winds and rain. Well the awful weather continued into October and although we did have a few good days much of the month was pretty lousy. Undeterred by the rain some of the keener (or should that be more stupid) members still managed to mow the patch a few times and hopefully it won’t need to be cut again for a while as it’s now turning colder.One particularly horrible very wet and windy Friday afternoon only three of us were able to make it for mowing, but at least we were cheered up by Woody supplying cakes as it was his birthday. Thanks Woody.
Following the departure of the late lamented 473 and all of his mates the field stayed bullock free for the whole of the month. The young replacements have now moved into the lower field but they’ll probably go inside for the winter before coming to our field. That’s what we’re hoping but we’re keeping the fence in place just in case.
Probably as a result of the poor weather not many new models were flown in October but the regular pilots flew whenever possible and there were a few other things that kept us entertained anyway. One midweek day early in the month we were pleased to see a Gypsy Moth exploring the area. It didn’t seem to be aware of us at all but it flew several fairly low and close passes and stayed in the general area for a few minutes. Luckily Kryten was on hand with his decent camera and he managed to snap this photo despite the rather murky weather conditions.I took some rather poor quality video with my mobile which you can see in this month’s video. Later in the month, on one of the few midweek days of perfect weather, we were treated to a very low fly-by by what I think was one of the Solent Flight Ikarus C42’s from Lower Upham Airfield. They are often in the area when we are flying but rarely come very low or very close to us. On this occasion the pilot seemed to be practising engine out procedures as several times the plane came down very low with the engine idling before open the throttle and climbing away. Mostly it wasn’t close to us but on one occasion it came almost overhead and I managed to take some video.This photo is a screenshot from the video which you can see in this month’s video. Needless to say we quickly landed all models on both these occasions and didn’t fly again until we were sure they’d left the area.
We are continuing with the foamboard fun and I’ve lost count of how many there are now in the club, must be about twenty I think. Captain Slow and I seem to have got into the habit of flying in close formation and sometimes the inevitable collisions occur. These are always Captain Slow’s fault of course, I always do my best to avoid contact despite what he says! There is very rarely any damage from these collisions, sometimes a nick from the prop but almost never anything more. On the day of the Gypsy Moth visit we were practising our formation flying when Captain Slow managed to carelessly hook his Mig-29 tailplane into the dangling battery lead on my Sukhoi, very poor piloting by him I thought. Kryten snapped a couple of great photos, the first when we were in close formation shows the battery lead dangling underneath my Sukhoi, and the second when we were actually locked together.Of course we both immediately shut our throttles but then found there was a distinct lack of directional control which meant Kryten had to take rather sharpish avoiding action but all was well. This is how they ‘landed’.There was no damage at all to either model so once we’d managed to disentangle the planes we carried on flying. The things we do just to help Kryten get some decent pictures…
Dougal Entendre has put together another 3D model, an MX2 3D EPP from Hobbyking, exactly the same as Chuck Berry’s that I featured a couple of months back. It comes as airframe only so no motor, esc, or servos are included but most of us already have suitable electronics to hand anyway. It’s currently showing as around £45 on the HobbyKing website but I think Dougal said he only paid £35, a real bargain. This is what Hobbyking say about it: Its fuselage is torsionally very stiff yet light with loads of space beneath the long top hatch for your radio and power system. The wing is a one piece affair featuring EPP construction, a very accurate symmetrical aerofoil with 2 additional spars to minimise flex and twist. The control surfaces are something else – the elevator, rudder and ailerons feature a 3 layer construction (EPP-Depron-EPP) making for stiff surfaces and NO flex at extreme throws! Snap rolls ‘Snap’ and control response is instantaneous. The light – yet rigid – airframe adds up to one great flying 3D ‘foamy’. Waterfalls, harriers, flat spins, rolling circles this model has the precision to perform these and any other moves you can think of! Assembly of the airframe in a quick 10-15 minute process with the help of a little medium CA. The radio and power system layouts are very straightforward, the long top hatch making for easy access. This is a great model for general park flying and hard core 3D. You will be hard pressed to break this model, it will take hard knocks and just keep bouncing back every time! Dougal has fitted his MX2 out with the Propdrive 2830 1100kv motor that was previously in his now defunct Laius, a 40A ESC and a three cell 1500mAh lipo. At the moment the prop is an APC-style 10×5, but he wants to go up to at least a 10×6 or 11×5 as it could do with a bit more power and there was still 45% battery capacity left after a 5 minute flight. Dougal tells me that he stripped the plastic gears on the 9g elevator servo just with the aerodynamic loads, so he needs to replace that one with something beefier, and probably the rudder servo as well.1066 has (had?) a Hobbyking Sbach 3D EPP which is a variation of the same base model but according to 1066 the engine mount/front bulkhead (a weak point of the Sbach) is stronger on the MX2. Dougal’s first flight with the MX2 looked very promising, I think it will be as good as 1066’s Sbach, judge for yourselves in this month’s video.
Captain Slow has now fitted some FPV gear to the Mini Skyhunter that he first flew back in July. That first flight was ‘interesting’ because the model had a drastic tip stall so Captain Slow has taken steps to eliminate it. He has moved the centre of gravity forward by fitting two 3 cell lipos instead of one and that seems to have solved the problem.The FPV gear consists of a Foxeer Predator Mini camera, an Eachine TD600 video transmitter, and Quanum Cyclops goggles. Captain Slow is slowly getting round to slotting in an SD card to record video of his flights but refuses to rush! He had several FPV flights in October and all went well, no problems with either the equipment or him flying it. He finds it better to sit down when wearing the goggles and he has a tendency to lose his balance. That’s understandable, both Dougal and I occasionally find ourselves a bit off balance at certain times although it happens less and less as we get more experienced. We only ever fly one FPV plane at a time which means there is often a spare set of goggles doing nothing so sometimes another club member will watch a flight to get the feel for FPV.In this photo Gentleman Jim was keeping an eye on Captain Slow while he explored the area with the Skyhunter.
1066 has been searching for a hotliner (fast aerobatic powered glider) for a some time now but he hasn’t been able to find anything he really likes, at least not at a price that he really likes. Eventually he bought a rather battered second-hand Multiplex Gilb on eBay and has spent some time tarting it up. I’ve not heard of the Gilb so I’ve done a bit of searching on the internet and discovered that Multiplex introduced the model way back in 1995. The wingspan is 2150mm, length 1070mm and all up weight is in the 2500-3200g range. It was reviewed in QFI (Quiet Flight International) in July 1995 but as I don’t have the magazine I can’t tell you what it says. On one of the forums someone was talking about various brushed motors and using 10-14 cells, ah yes, the old pre-brushless motor days with nicad/nimh batteries! 1066’s model came ready fitted with a Tornado Thumper 3536-06 1270kv outrunner motor and a 70A speed controller. 1066 is using various four cell lipos, mostly in the 3000-3300mAh range and the power is reasonable although he’d like a bit more. I’m not sure what prop size he’s using but he said he’d tested one with 2” more pitch and the current went up to 90A so he can’t fly with that one!He had to do quite a lot of work to the model to get it ready for flight and quickly discovered that more work was needed, it was well out of trim. I wasn’t present for the first flight but apparently the model was a real handful. After some more work it’s now flying pretty well although there’s still a bit to do to get it flying as 1066 would like. It’s pretty quick so not easy to video but I managed to get some footage which is in the video.
Captain Slow has also bought himself a second-hand Multiplex model, this one’s a Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter that he found on the BMFA Classifieds webpage. The following photos are all taken from the advert. The Turbo Porter is a moulded foam model that has the usual controls plus flaps and a scale sprung undercarriage with large wheels. It can be converted for operation from water with the addition of a float kit. The 1250mm span model comes fitted with a Permax 3530 1100kv motor with an 11×5.5 prop, a 40A esc, and 6 metal geared digital servos. The suggested lipo is a 3 cell 2100-2700mAh, a pretty standard size that we all have. The cheapest I can find it new online is £170 and some retailers list it at over £200 so I reckon Captain Slow got a bargain at just £75.I haven’t yet seen the plane for myself but Captain Slow says it’s in good condition and he just needs to change the esc connector and fit a receiver and battery. We should get to see it sometime towards the end of next year then.
I always feel poor old Kryten gets a bit of a rough deal in Patch News, he provides us all with some superb flying shots of our models but never gets any photos of his own models in action. My mobile takes excellent photos of stationary models and pilots, and it’s pretty good for video as well, but it’s just not up to the job when it comes to capturing flying shots. This was the best I could get of Kryten’s E-flite Apprentice:But I did manage to capture Captain Slow measuring Kryten’s spot landing attempt one day. It was an excellent spot landing but as an aside, why on earth has Captain Slow got ER embroidered on his socks?Is he still wearing socks he purloined when he was merely Acting Lance Corporal Slow all those years ago?
Dougal had an interesting incident while flying his Skyfun using FPV one day. On the second flight of the day I was Dougal’s spotter and the model seemed to be flying well but suddenly I could see something hanging underneath it.At almost the same moment Dougal said he’d lost power. He glided the Skyfun in for a deadstick landing and on the approach I realised it was the motor that was hanging down. When we reached the model we could see what had happened, the prop had thrown a blade and the ensuing vibration had snapped the metal mount. At some point the second prop blade had also broken and one of them had chopped the top off one of the fins as it flew off! The motor was left dangling by its wires and Dougal was lucky that it hadn’t pulled the plugs out from the esc wires, we would probably never have found it. I’m not sure if the motor mount is a stock item or a special Skyfun part but I expect Dougal will soon have it sorted and flying again.
It was good to see Gorgeous Gary on the last Sunday in October, he’s been absent for a while blaming holidays, work, and life in general. He brought along a couple of models, his foamboard Sukhoi SU-27 and his Ripmax Jive.Gary was slightly nervous having not flown for a while but the Sukhoi soon put a big smile on his face. The Jive was also ok although that strange dirty, noisy, smelly thing on the front seemed a bit reluctant to run at first.I was flying when Gary was trying to start it but I could hear comments of “There’s an answer to that” etc. How cruel, you’d never hear me saying things like that! It was all in good fun and the Jive was soon up and flying.
My Volantex Ranger 1600 is flying well on FPV and I made a few changes to it in October. The Ranger 1600 comes without an undercarriage although the 1200, 1400, and 2400 versions all have one. I wanted to use mine to practice FPV take-offs and landings so I fitted an undercarriage from another model. It worked well enough but the wire was too weak and bent on anything less than a perfect landing so I’ve now replaced it with one made of stiffer wire. It’s proved to be much better and has stood up to many touch & go’s and landings without bending. I have also fitted another FPV set-up whilst retaining the original one so I can choose which to use at any time. The original FPV equipment is all fitted inside the Ranger fuselage with the camera mounted in an existing hole under the nose. But the model also comes with a moulded foam insert that clips on in place of the usual canopy so I fitted the latest set of equipment to that. The second set-up consists of a Caddx Turbo Micro camera that I spotted in the Hobbyking sale for just £8.02 and a Speedy Bee VTX-DVR from Banggood for £11.92. So for just under £20 I got what has turned out to be a good quality camera and a transmitter that sends the video stream back to the goggles and also records the video onto a micro SD card, ridiculously cheap.The set-up works well and having the camera mounted higher up has proved to be much better as the original camera tends to pick up dew and grass cuttings on the lens during take-offs, not ideal. The higher mounted camera avoids all that and although it’s only around 100mm higher than the original it makes a surprising difference when taking-off, I can actually see where I’m going instead of just grass!
Video time now and this one includes quite a bit of FPV footage from both me and Dougal. 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
A class of school children were taken on an airport tour and their last stop was in the control tower. They were given a talk by an air traffic controller who explained how everything worked and he then asked if there are any questions.
One lad says “Have you ever had a real emergency?”
“Well there was one time when we ran out of coffee…”