Patch News – November 2019

The November weather was pretty much as we would expect with quite a few wet and windy days interspersed with some reasonable flying days. Lots of us managed to fly several times during the month, mostly the ‘midweekers’ of course who were able to pick the best of the weather. The patch is in excellent condition and has now all but stopped growing so the Farts didn’t need to mow much at all this month. When we arrived at the field on the last Sunday in November we were surprised to find very murky conditions. We quickly tracked down the cause of the problem…But he’s been forgiven as Captain Slow has kept up his much appreciated fortnightly battery charging and swapping service, something that has renewed importance as the herd of ‘new’ bullocks arrived towards the end of the month.They’ve already been testing the fence but will hopefully soon learn that it’s best to ignore it. I wonder what number bullock Captain Slow will befriend this time, perhaps we should start a book…the winner gets a joint of beef!

There weren’t too many new models flown in November but there was quite a lot of action to report on anyway. The first new model I’ll show you is an indoor one designed and built by Dwayne Pipe. I though Dwayne Pipes were only found outside…? I spotted it at the Havant indoor flying session that’s run by Waltham Chase Aero Modellers.Dwayne has scaled down the foamboard Sukhoi SU-27 that so many of us are flying at the patch. It has a wingspan of just 15” (380mm) and is made from 2mm thick Depron. The speed controller and Spektrum compatible receiver are combined in a one piece unit that came from Banggood and Dwayne is using a pair of 2g HobbyKing servos to control the elevons. At the moment the motor is an 8.5mm diameter inrunner drone motor that swings a 6” prop.Unfortunately, as you will see in this month’s video, it’s rather underpowered at the moment and can’t manage much more than a circuit before the motor overheats and the plane lands. To overcome this Dwayne is planning to fit a Microaces motor that is designed for aircraft rather than drones which should fit the bill nicely. The Sukhoi is remarkably stable and flies very slowly so with more power it should be a great indoor flier, well done Dwayne.

Chas Butler is also putting together an indoor model, a Clik R2 SuperLITE that’s constructed from EPP and carbon fibre. It has a wingspan of 840mm (33”) and an AUW of 130g. The motor is a 1620kv unit that swings a 9×2.5 carbon fibre prop and is fed by a 10A speed controller. It has one 6g servo and two 4.5g servos, presumably the 6g one drives both ailerons and the 4.5g ones are for rudder and elevator. The battery is a tiny 2 cell 280mAh lipo.Chas says he hasn’t decided what receiver to use yet but has found this one which seems a likely candidate.It weighs just 2.4g and for comparison the 20p piece weighs 5g! This is how a completed Clik R2 SuperLITE looks.

The month saw some ‘interesting’ FPV moments. The first one was when I was flying my Ranger 1600 FPV one day and spotter Captain Slow suggested I flew further to the south west than previously. But as I got to a reasonable distance (but well within spotter sight) I suddenly lost the radio link although the FPV was working perfectly. The model came down, fortunately with minimal damage, and everything seemed to be working correctly. But back at the patch the radio was dead and I found that the lead from the esc had become unplugged from the receiver. I knew it wasn’t a result of the crash as it has been working before and I couldn’t see why it would have come out on the walk back so I decided it must have been loose while I was flying and was making/losing connection causing the crash. I put it all back together and found nothing else wrong. Next time out I did a careful low power range check and got almost double the stated range with no problems. So I flew it again and all seemed fine for two flights. But on the third flight I flew back to the area where I’d lost control and it promptly happened again! The model came down relatively unscathed within a few yards of the previous crash and again everything was working perfectly, and all the connections were still sound. It seemed likely that the radio was short on range and the crashes were in the same location because that was the furthest I’d gone each time. I checked the location on Google Maps and found the distance was only about 400 metres so it should have easily have been within range.The next morning I rang Mike Ridley, the Multiplex service agent. Mike lives in Sholing so is very handy for PAM members and he’ll service virtually all RC gear except Spektrum. Don’t blame me, I’m just repeating what he said! Within minutes of arriving Mike had found the problem. A while ago I had found a split in the receiver aerial insulation where it exits the case and I’d covered it a piece of heat-shrink tubing. But Mike found that the coax shielding underneath the insulation was also damaged. It’s only the bare 30mm or so of wire at the end of the aerial that does anything, the rest of the aerial is shielded and if the shielding gets damaged it affects the range. I told Mike I’d done a low power range check and he explained that it doesn’t necessarily show up a problem. He fitted a new aerial and did some tests to ensure the receiver was back to normal. He also checked that the transmitter power output was correct. I’ve since flown the Ranger several times to extreme range and had no problems at all so I’m happy again. While I was with Mike I bought a new transmitter aerial for Woody as he’d broken the hinge pin on his. Oh, and the cost?  The grand total of £15. Mike also gave me a 2.4GHz Radio Use & Installation Help Sheet that I’ve added to the News section of the website. I thoroughly recommend Mike Ridley, Model Radio Workshop. 

The other FPV incident happened to Dougal Entendre. Last month I reported that his Skyfun propeller had thrown a blade and the vibration tore the motor out, breaking the motor mount and taking the top off one of the fins as it went. This month the Skyfun returned with a new motor mount and repaired fin and was soon flying as well as ever. But not for long. If you were at the club meeting on 28th November you’ll have heard the tale, seen the video, got the T-shirt etc. so I won’t go into detail here, suffice to say Dougal inadvertently flew into some thick cloud and, lacking X-ray vision, the spotter (me) couldn’t see the model. Dougal throttled back but I didn’t see it emerge from the cloud and although Dougal had a nice clear picture of the ground on his goggles he didn’t know where he was. Several of us scanned the sky for the model but we couldn’t spot it. Eventually the Skyfun ran out of battery and came down. By comparing Google Maps with the video of the flight that was recorded in his goggles Dougal figured out the location and retrieved the model. All the electronics seem to have survived but sadly the airframe didn’t. In this month’s video you will see some of the cloud Dougal found but also some nice fluffy bits that I played with.

Meanwhile Captain Slow has been flying his FPV Skyhunter and getting used to flying with goggles. He prefers to remain seated while flying as he’s less likely to lose his balance. It is fairly easy to lose balance while flying although I’ve found you gradually get used to it and I rarely have a problem now. Landing can be a bit tricky to get right with FPV as judging the height isn’t easy but on one of his flights Captain Slow managed to land right on the spot.Obviously more luck than judgement but I suppose I must give him credit where it’s due. At least he didn’t run off the patch into a hole as Dougal did when I let him have a go at landing my Ranger while he was flying it FPV! You can just about see the slightly crumpled nose that was the result of my earlier receiver problem, not Dougal.Dougal and I had swapped goggles to compare my cheap Quanum box goggles with his expensive Aomways. Dougal was happy with the quality of mine but found then big and cumbersome. Can’t say I’m surprised, he shouldn’t have tied a windsock to the front of them, it’s not as if he could even see it while he was wearing the goggles!On the plus side at least he couldn’t see Captain Slow camping it up in the background either!

Woody has built himself another foamboard Mig-29. This one came in a different colour scheme to all the others and I must say I think it looks rather nice. As is usual for Woody he’s got lights all over it, not sure how many but it’s a lot, about eleven I think. They are very bright and show up quite well especially on gloomy November days.Woody fitted it with a 7” prop rather than the normally used 6” in the hope of keeping the noise down but it doesn’t seem to have worked. He’s opened up the prop slot since I took this photo and that has reduced the noise a lot.It flies much like all the others and certainly has plenty of thrust. You can see it in action in this month’s video. Want one? The version with the new colour scheme is currently in stock in the HobbyKing UK warehouse for around £17.

Chas has had a bit of a clear out and on 17th November he took a car load of stuff to the Southern Counties Autumn Swapmeet at Mountbatten School Romsey. Wow, he’s certainly packed a lot of stuff in there!Chas reports that he couldn’t get the stuff out of the car quick enough for the buyers and the prices were very good. A seller’s table cost £9 for the morning including admission and admission for buyers was £4. That’s definitely a swap meet to bear in mind for anyone who has some modelling stuff to move on. They also held one in March this year so presumably there will be another in March 2020.

John Warren has joined the foamboard fun with a Sukhoi SU-27. I’m afraid I don’t have any photos to show you, I’m sure I took some of John with his Sukhoi but I can’t find them now, I must have inadvertently deleted them. Not to worry, you can see in this month’s video that the test flight went well. But I do have a photo of his Jocasta. John has now added his ‘corporate colours’ of white trim to the previously all red model and very smart it looks too.He had a bit of a moment with the Jocasta this month, while he was flying he had to call for help when it started to fly erratically. Dougal took over and at first all seemed well but then suddenly the Jocasta did its own thing again. He managed to regain control and land safely back on the patch where the cause was investigated.I’ve seen unpinned hinges that have come out but John had pinned this one only to have it break on the hinge line.

The winter building season is upon us and although there was a lack of new models at the patch this month there are plenty of models being built. All the ones I’ve seen so far have been ‘proper’ built-up wood models. The members of the PAM WhatsApp group will have already seen some of them, please send any photos for publication to me personally rather than the whole group. First up is Page Boy’s 1370mm (54”) wingspan Slec Funfly.Slec produce the laser cut kit in two versions, I/C and electric and Page Boy’s is the electric one of course. It should end up weighing just under 4lbs when fitted with a 650kv motor swinging a 12×6 prop, a 60A esc and a 4 cell lipo.Page Boy reports that the laser cut kit is of very good quality. The original glow version was first produced by Precedent and their FunFly won several events including the Nationals Fun Fly Class 2 back in the 80’s.

Chas is building a Tony Nijhuis designed Westland Lysander that’s 1/9th scale giving it a wingspan of 1676mm (66”).The final weight should be around 6lbs and Chas will be powering it with a 595kv 4-Max motor with a 14×7 prop, a 70A esc and a 4 cell 4500mAh lipo. He hasn’t made a decision on the colour scheme yet but this one is a contender.

Bob the Builder is building a Ghost Rider 50, he likes the way Dougal’s flies so much he’s decided to make his own.Actually he says it’s ‘based on a Ghost Rider 50′ so presumably he’s made a few changes. It’s 1300mm span (51”) and is fitted with a PropDrive 1100kv motor that should produce around 800W on a 4 cell lipo. That ought to be plenty as Bob thinks the model will weigh 4lbs. Wonder if it’ll make him fly like Dougal? Answers on a postcard to: Bob the Builder, Not Even Close, Never-In-a-Million-Years…

I have details of several other models that are under construction plus a few other interesting snippets and photos but I’ll save those for the December edition of Patch News when I’m likely to be rather short of material.

I haven’t had any of Kryten’s superb photos this month so you’ll have to put up with a few that I snapped with my mobile. These were while we were flying inside the live fence to avoid the bullocks and nobody hit it:

Video time now and this one includes footage from Captain Slow 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

And finally, a festive joke to warm the mince pies of your hearts:

A plumber, a prison warder, and an airline pilot all died on Christmas Eve and rose to heaven.

St. Peter met them at the pearly gates saying “Since you died on Christmas Eve before I can let you in you’ve all got to show me something that represents Christmas.”

The plumber put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a lighter. He then lit it, and said “It’s a Christmas candle”
St. Peter said “Yes, there are candles for Christmas, go on in.”

The prison warder produced a set of keys and shook them saying “These are Jingle bells.”
St. Peter said “Well there are bells at Christmas so you can go in.”

But when the pilot rummaged in his pockets all he could find was a pair of stewardess’s panties.
St. Peter demanded “And just what do those have to do with Christmas? “

“These? Oh these are Carols…”

Merry Christmas everybody
Colin Cowplain

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