Patch News – June 2020

Patch News – June 2020

As I begin writing this edition the country is slowly returning to normal, or at least ‘the new normal’ and many members have managed to get some flying in. The gradual easing of the lockdown rules has also made life easier for patch maintenance and it’s been mown several times which has brought it back to almost pristine condition although the lack of rain has caused it to go rather brown. The mowing has been led mostly by 1066 and Captain Slow has managed to keep the fence going throughout lockdown with regular charging and changing of the battery.At the end of May the bullocks returned and tended to join pilots alongside the patch but they’ve learnt not to touch the fence so haven’t caused us any serious problems. It would be nice if we could teach then not to wander across the take-off and landing areas at critical moments but overall they’ve been more of an irritation than a problem.Dougal Entendre tells me that Woody backed into the live fence during one session and rather disturbingly he seemed to enjoy the shock! Mike Smith did the same thing next time out but apparently found it less enjoyable. This time the bullocks visit was only a brief one and at the time of writing the field is bullock free again. Oops, you can ignore that, on Friday 26th Woody reported that the bullocks would be returning and sure enough they’re back.

During lockdown there were so many new models being built that I was overwhelmed with material for Patch News so I expected to be able to report on lots of maiden flights but that just hasn’t happened. With the restrictions of the number of pilots at the patch I haven’t attended as much as usual so I expect I’ve missed a few of the new models but will catch up over the next couple of months. Please send me details and photos of any new models I’ve missed.

One I haven’t missed is Captain Slow’s now infamous Splot. It’s infamous because the build of the really basic, fast to put together model took the Captain two years to complete, and I haven’t missed it because it still hasn’t flown! I sneaked a couple of socially distanced photos in mid-April when I dropped by Captain Slow’s place to collect the fence battery and the Splot was virtually finished then but 2½ months later it still hasn’t flown. He swears it’s all finished but doesn’t want to rush into anything. I must admit I am rather jealous of his model storage rack though.

I forgot to include one particular photo in the last Patch News and it’s one that I know you’d want to see. Bob the Builder and I were flying as soon as we were allowed and before the patch has been cut. Because the patch grass was longer than the rest of the field we left the fence up and flew from outside the circle, landing between the pits and the patch. At least that was the idea but Bob misjudged one landing and ended up here:I bet he couldn’t do that again if he tried! Luckily there was no damage, and the plane was ok as well.

Bob has now fitted a pair of new motors to his EasyTwin. The model flew well with the original motors but one of them made some fairly horrible noises at particular throttle settings and Bob could never be sure it wouldn’t suddenly seize up, especially bad news on a twin. So he’s splashed out on a couple of Tornado Thumpers from Overlander. I asked him for some comprehensive details of the new set-up and this is what he sent me:I just can’t get the staff… Oh, he did say “10 minute flights”. It can be seen flying with my BushMule in the video.

A couple of months ago Dougal sent me some photos of his venerable Fun 3 model. It’s now 40 years old having been originally built it in 1980 although the fuselage was rebuilt 4 years later following an ‘incident’!It’s been successfully flown with a variety of power sources, the first being a Meteor 40 with a tuned pipe (I bet that was noisy) and now of course an electric set-up which Dougal says makes it go better than ever.It is still using the original Skyleader servos which look rather out of place next to the tiny 2.4GHz Devention receiver, how things have changed in 40 years. But also notice the wing bolt plate that is looking very dodgy, I think that might have seen the end of the model had it not been spotted!

Last month I showed you a couple a photos of Woody’s almost completed Hunter that he’s built from the Tony Nijhuis plan. It’s now finished and I’ve had a few attempts at getting it flying but so far without success.The model looks nice but I wonder if it’s overweight as it just won’t go away from a hand launch. After several unsuccessful but undamaged attempts Woody is going to check the weight and measure the thrust to see if they are what the plan says they should be. It has the same fan and motor as my Raptor but feels about twice the weight although to be fair the Hunter uses a 2200mAh lipo and the Raptor only a 1500. We’ll see what the scales tell us.

Norwegian Nick brought his almost completed Sabre along to the field to show us one day. Like Woody’s Hunter the Sabre was built from a Tony Nijhuis plan and is using the same FMS fan but with a 4 cell rated motor. In theory that means it should have around a third more thrust so it ought to have plenty of power.The model is built to Nick’s usual high standard and is very nearly ready to be test flown. Personally I have to say that I have some doubts about the pilot, I’m not sure he can be relied on, he looks completely legless…

Several months ago, in the heady pre-lockdown days, I featured a Multiplex Stunt Master that Chas Butler had picked up for a good price at the LMA Much Markle show last year. The Stunt Master is made from Elapor (the Multiplex version of EPO foam) with carbon fibre reinforcements, has a wingspan of 870mm and weighs just 350g. The ready fitted hardware consists of a Permax 2206 1050kv outrunner, a 20A esc and three 8g servos. The prop is secured by a rubber O-ring so any unscheduled arrivals won’t damage the motor shaft, not that Chas will have any unscheduled arrivals. Both ailerons are operated by one servo mounted centrally in the fuselage above the wing, an arrangement that is pretty unusual on outdoor models these days but maybe it’s more common on indoor ones. Due to winter, windy weather, the lockdown etc Chas hadn’t got round to flying his new toy but towards the end of June the weather seemed perfect for its first flight. Despite being the hottest day of the year so far the conditions weren’t actually ideal as there was a reasonable breeze blowing from the east which always means turbulence from the trees. But the first flight went very well and even subsequent flights in the increasing wind were fine.Chas was delighted with the model and it certainly looked good in the air. The flights I watched were with the rates in the ‘standard’ setting, wait until he tries ‘3D’ setting! You can see some of the maiden flight in this month’s video.

Towards the end of June both Captain Slow and I started flying FPV again. We both had some successful flights without any problems but then Captain Slow decided to fly his SkyHunter normally, ie. not using goggles. It was flying fine although the turbulence off the trees but getting worse as the morning wore on, especially low down. I was trying to get some flying shots of the model so asked him to do a low pass…big mistake, entirely my fault. It’s a shame I was taking stills rather than video but you get the idea, the pass was a bit too low for the conditions. Fortunately there was no damage other than a cracked joint in the nose and a big dent in Captain Slow’s pride!

Dwayne Pipe sent through a couple of photos showing how he’s progressing with his Folland Gnat. It’s a totally scratch built model, Dwayne has drawn up his own plans, scaling everything up from an Airfix kit.He began by producing a kit of parts and now has the wings almost done, I assume there will be a carbon joiner.Dwayne is going to fit a 12 bladed fan from Banggood which he’s tested on an 8 cell lipo and gives around 1.5kg of thrust so in his words the performance should be ‘lively’! Dwayne is building up quite a bit of experience with EDF set-ups, his scratch built TSR2 goes very well as you can see in this month’s video.

Catapult King has now repaired his own design Yellow Tail following an early flight ‘incident’ when he discovered that models with very thin tapered wings are prone tip stalling, something that’s all part of the learning curve I’m afraid.He based it on 1066’s Pichler HiSpeed, taking the basic sizes and then modifying them to his own requirements.This time out Catapult kept the speed up and the Yellow Tail performed well with no problems.Catapult also flew his Bug, a model he built from the Flite Test plan, which is constructed almost entirely from Depron so is very light. The day was rather breezy so hardly ideal Bug conditions but it just about coped.

The weather has been quite amazing for the last couple of months but it became cooler and windier at the end of June. On Sunday 28th Dougal Entendre, 1066, and Bob the Builder had booked a slot and they all flew despite the strong wind. Here is Dougal’s report on the morning: When Steve and I met up, we decided to go in the lower field as we both had hand-launchable models and didn’t fancy dealing with the cattle. I flew the Sportjet and the Blizzard, and Steve flew his Mirus. The wind was strong but not too bad. Then we saw Bob going in the gate of the upper field, so I went over to tell him where we were. Steve went back to the car to get his hotliner out as there seemed to be lift about. Bob flew his Walrus and made the most of the lift which we found over the bottom of the field.The wind was coming up from the south-west, so some of it may have been slope lift, but there were strong and bumpy thermals coming through too. On my second Blizzard flight it started to rain quite heavily, so Steve and I landed, and Bob left at that point. The rain soon stopped though, and I still had 87% in the Blizzard battery, so we flew again. I must have spent fifteen minutes or so working bumpy thermals, and Steve did the same with his hotliner. I landed with 55% still left in the battery! So all in all a surprisingly enjoyable morning, and we were glad we made the effort! Thanks Dougal, sounds fun, sometimes the more challenging days turn out to be really good.

Video time now, and this time includes contributions from me, Captain Slow and Dougal Entendre, thanks guys. Please watch the video full-screen, it’s so much better with small models flying around.If the video won’t play for you please click HERE

Do you think invisible aeroplanes will ever be a thing?
I just can’t see them taking off…

Colin Cowplain


The Government has issued revised lockdown rules that take effect from Monday 1st June when groups of up to 6 people from different households may meet in outdoor spaces providing they comply with the existing social distancing rules, which means that up to 6 Members can fly at any one time.

Having discussed the matter with the Club Committee the following revised rules for flying at the Patch have been agreed with effect from Monday 1st June 2020:

On all days’ of the week except Friday afternoon and Sunday there is no need to book a flying slot with John Wheeley.  That said if a Member (Andy usually) plans to fly they are asked to circulate their intention to all those on Andy’s email list of mid-week flyers.  Those intending to join the instigator of the flying session are requested to advise all those on Andy’s list of their intention to fly.

Friday afternoon will revert to “gardening” and to avoid more Members than the 6 allowed turning up, Members are asked to book their visit by email to John Wheeley.

Similarly, on Sunday morning, any Member intending to fly is asked to book a slot with John Wheeley by lunch-time on Saturday and if more than 6 apply, then priority will given to those who work from Monday to Friday.

If any Member feels uncomfortable about flying as a group of up to 6 Members then they should contact John Wheeley and a day will be allocated to them to fly, BUT there must be a minimum of 2 Members present as there are bullocks in the field.  They will also be responsible for arranging their flying companion.

Please do remember that Members MUST maintain a separation of 2 metres at all times; this will require some care both in the pits when the bullocks are in the field (now) and on the flight line.

If any Member has any questions please don’t hesitate to contact John Wheeley.

COVID-19 UPDATE – 11th May

The BMFA have updated their guidance for model flying following the Government’s relaxation of their “stay at home” rules.  You can read the update here:, which is based on:

The Patch grass is quite long and this will prevent most models from ROG launches and also the bullocks are in the field.  We should adhere to the Government / BMFA guidelines which means only two Members can be at the Patch at any one time; this means that cutting the grass – which will have to be removed from the Patch – is probably not an option.  We also don’t want Members to turn up on the off-chance of flying as this will lead to wasted journeys and, understandably, frustration.

The Committee have agreed the following plan:

Two Members at the Patch at any one time who are socially distanced and follow the BMFA guidelines. As there will only be two Members, when the bullocks are in the field flying can take place from within the main Patch fence with landings where so ever you choose.

In an effort to provide all those who wish to fly with equal opportunity the Chairman will run a booking sheet.  In this way if for example you fly on a Wednesday, unless there are no takers for the following day or days, you won’t get a slot to fly again until all who have requested one have flown.  If you cannot take up your allotted slot then if it’s for the following day or two please use the Club’s WhatsApp Group to alert other Members who may wish to take the slot.  Priority for slots at weekends will go to those who can’t fly during the working week.

Some other points of detail relating to the proposals above:

If you wish to fly on the following day the Chairman will need to be informed by 8:00pm at the latest and if there is a free slot he will advise you by text message.  To do this he will need your mobile number so please included it. Please plan ahead if you can.

Whilst the weather looks very reasonable for the next 7 to 10 days, this can change and if you are unfortunate enough to choose a day that subsequently becomes un-flyable, then you’ll just have to take the next available slot.

Covid-19 update and other news from the BMFA

Dear BMFA Member

We hope this email finds you well.

Unfortunately, the Government extended the current lockdown restrictions for a further 3 weeks at least from 16/4/2020. This is very frustrating especially as the weather has been excellent recently. However, if we all metaphorically stick together (literally would not be in the spirit of social distancing!) we will be doing our bit to help bring this national emergency to an end sooner rather than later.

We have received several calls and emails from members of the public who have witnessed model flying taking place during the lockdown. We are aware of at least one case where the Police were involved moving some model flyers along. Of course, they may not have been BMFA members.

Everyone should consider the effect of their actions in this time of crisis; not only the extra risks involved in going out but also how it reflects on the sport we all love.

Our advice remains to always follow the government advice which is: only to leave home for a limited number of reasons, these are: –

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example, food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
  • one form of exercise a day, for example, a run, walk or cycle – alone or with members of your household.
  • any medical need, including, to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or, to provide care or help to a vulnerable person.
  • travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home.


This does of course give many of us plenty of time to finish off those winter projects or even to get a head start on another project, hopefully it will not be too long before we are all back flying.

We are aware that many of you who have 3D printers are actively involved in producing PPE for various essential workers, very well done you should be extremely proud of your efforts.

CAA Operator ID’s

Operator ID’s for those who requested CAA registration through the BMFA before February 10th have now been added to the membership portal and individual members can view these from the ‘Member Details’ section of their profile.  For those who requested CAA registration after 10th February, the next upload to the CAA will be taking place on 3rd June and you will receive your operator ID’s direct from the CAA shortly afterwards. These will also be added to the portal.

Website Updates

As mentioned in our last email the new events calendar is now up and running at and events are starting to be added. The next website update we are working on is a newly updated classifieds section. This is not ready yet and we will give everyone plenty of notice before the changeover. It is almost certain that to place adverts and reply to adverts that you will need to access the classifieds section by first logging in to the Go Membership portal. The aim is that this will give increased security especially as wanted adverts, which are the adverts most targeted by scammers, will only be visible to logged in current BMFA members.

Finally, as reported in earlier correspondence, despite the lockdown requirements the office switchboard is till being manned and emails still monitored at this time. The day to day work of the office is continuing and the BMFA are still working hard to protect and promote model aircraft flying in all its forms.

That’s all for now.

Stay well. Stay at home. Protect the NHS and save lives!

Best Regards from all at the BMFA.

2.4GHz radio use & installation help sheet by Mike Ridley

As some of you will know I had my radio go to failsafe mode a couple of times last week. A low power range check appeared to be ok so I took the gear to Mike Ridley of Model Radio Workshop and he found that the receiver aerial had a break in the coax shielding where it exits the case. I had seen the insulation on the aerial had split but didn’t realise the coax shielding was damaged so I had simply put a piece of heatshrink tubing over the split. The damage reduced the range, hence the failsafe, but the low power range check had not shown the problem. Mike fitted a new aerial and it’s now all good again.

Mike is the official service agent for Multiplex and many other makes and his services are very good value, he is thoroughly recommended. He is based in Sholing, Southampton so it’s a quick and easy trip for most PAM members.

While I was there Mike gave me a sheet he has compiled that covers some of the common problems he comes across and which contains some useful tips. He’s given me permission to use it: 

2.4G Radio use and installation help sheet

With regards to problems with 2.4G radio, as 2.4G radiation is quite directional, aerial position at the transmitter and receiver is quite important.

In the case of the models with carbon or metal in the way or close by the aerials this will have an effect on the aerials and will reduce the overall range.

Even the wires to the servos will also affect the range, so having any of these items close to the aerials will narrow down the active part of the aerial receiving the signals from the transmitter.

With all carbon models the only thing you can do is to get the aerials outside of the model, it has been found that having the aerials some distance behind the wings is the best. Having the aerials in front of the leading edge of wings will tend to give lock out and failsafe operation as the fatter part of wings will hide the aerials with the model in given positions.

I suggest that once a model has its radio fully installed that you take the model to the edge of its range by using the power down setting on the transmitter and then at the edge of range position the model in different angles and attitudes and see if you can lose the radio link. If this is the case then look at the aerials positions within the model to see if they are being compromised in any way.

UBec use
When using UBec power supplies avoid mounting the UBec close to the receiver as this can cause direct interference. I suggest when you first install a UBec carry out a short range check with and without the UBec if you find a significant change in the range then have the UBec checked out or replaced. This problem can also apply to some speed controllers that are now also using UBec BEC circuit.

NiMH batteries
One of the other problem with today’s modern radios is the batteries, as we’ve been forced to use NiMH battery this makes the possibility of battery voltage collapse much more likely, as NiMH have a much higher internal impedance sudden high loading of the battery can make the voltage collapse causing the receiver micro-processors to reset. If you have a lot of servos in your model you should consider using Eneloop batteries as they have a much lower internal impedance and can cope with high loads.

Transmitter aerial position
I recommend that the aerial be put into the vertical position as the signal that is radiated from the aerial is polarized in vertical plane and is more likely to reach the receiver than in the horizontal plan. This also avoids the tip of the aerial pointing directly at the model which is where the radiation is at its weakest.

Third party add-ons
If you are using third party add-ons with your 2.4G radio be aware that some units may radiate interference that can get into your receiver, items like height limiters etc. Mounting such items on top of your receiver can lead to lock outs and failsafe operation, try to avoid mounting electronic items close to the receiver as even a CE marked thing may still upset the receiver.

2.4G with boats
Because boats are at ground level and in water the strength of the 2.4G signal is very weak across the water, so the aerial/aerials should always be mounted in the vertical where possible in a tube, fitting the aerials under the decking can lead to loss of control when the model banks especially as the aerial get closer to the water level.

Once again metal or carbon parts in the model will deflect the 2.4G radiation so avoid mounting the aerials close to these types of materials.

Range checking
Using the power down button on your transmitter to test the range does not tell the whole story. If we say that the power down output is 10 milliwatts if there is a problem with the R.F. module/board inside your transmitter then you could have just 10 milliwatts when in full power mode.

This effect has caught many people out, one of my customers after crashing a model then carried out a power down short range check on a second model and everything seemed fine, and ended up crashing another model.

I suggest if you get any signs of loss of control with a model, carry out a full range check or at least a test that is greater than the distance where you lost control of the model.

Common faults with 2.4G R.F. in transmitters are fractured aerial wire, damaged aerial, loose aerial, aerial connector not fully home, faulty R.F.I.C. in the R.F. module, all of the above are quite common in most makes. 


Airbrush with compressor, and bench grinder for sale

As most of you will know our President Don Eades is sadly now having to be looked after in a care home. Most of his modelling stuff has already been sold but there are a few odds and ends left, the most valuable items being an airbrush set-up complete with compressor, and a bench grinder.
Is anyone interested in either of these?  If so please make an offer Mark Agate.

NO FLYING on Sunday 12th May – Field being using as a car park

Please note that next Sunday 12th May the field will be used for car parking for the Green Fair being held at the Sustainability Centre so no flying will be allowed.

Some of us will probably fly on Saturday instead, keep an eye on your emails.

Changes to Club Meetings – Official & Social meetings explained in detail

At the AGM on 24th January it was agreed to change the way we hold meetings due to the drop off in numbers of members attending.

Meetings will still be held fortnightly but they will be Official and Social meetings alternately. The next meeting on 7th Feb will be a Social meeting, the following one, on 21st Feb, will be an Official meeting. The dates of each are on the Meetings page of the website:

So what is the difference?

Official meetings be be exactly as we are used to, at Buriton Village Hall and will include formal business, minutes etc followed by a talk, presentation, quiz, discussion etc.

Social meetings will have no formal business or minutes and the venue will vary. During the winter months the venue will be in a pub, initially the Seven Stars in Stroud GU32 3PG. This might change to a different pub later in which case members will be emailed in advance and a notice put on the website. During the summer months the venue will be the flying field for evening flying, quiet models only, no EDF or I/C. Obviously flying will be weather dependant and it might mean that at short notice flying is curtailed or cancelled. In that case we might adjourn to the Rising Sun in Clanfield PO8 0RN. Again, members will be kept informed via email as early as possible.

There is now a PAM Flying Group on WhatsApp. This is a much easier way than email to keep in contact and, if you haven’t already done so, I would urge you to download WhatsApp to your mobile phone and join the group (ask Andy to add you once you have the app). It’s totally free to download and use.

Curry Night – Sunday 27th Jan NOW CANCELLED

Steve Hastings is organising a curry night for PAM members, family and friends, the more the merrier.

The provisional date is Sunday the 27th January from 7pm onward and the venue will be the Gandhi Tandoori Indian Restaurant, Hollow Lane Hayling Island PO11 9EY.

The cost will be just £15 per person.

There will be a buffet consisting of:

  • Poppadoms and Pickles
  • Chicken Tikka
  • Lamb Shish
  • Onion Bhaji
  • Vegetable Samosa
  • 3 Curries, 2 Meat and 1 Vegetarian
  • Rice
  • 2 Sides

There will even be entertainment, Steve’s wife Jen will be singing songs by the Carpenters, Doris Day, Elton John, Elvis, Adele, The Eagles, and many others.

Steve says he’s eaten at the Gandhi many times and the food is always delicious. There is plenty of free parking directly opposite the restaurant.

Steve needs to get an idea of numbers sooner rather than later, so he can confirm the date and details with the restaurant. If you’d like to come along please let him know as soon as possible, preferably by email.


Skittles reminder – Sat 29th Sept Barley Mow Walderton

Andy Palmer has arranged another skittles evening at the Barley Mow Walderton on Saturday 29th September. We aim to start bowling at 7pm.

Cost will be £11 per head, which includes skittles and a buffet typically consisting of: Vegetarian Quiche, Sliced Turkey & Ham, Sausage Rolls, Potato Salad, Pesto Pasta (Gluten Free), Chunky Chips, Ciabatta & Butter, Olives & Hummus, Marinated Chicken Drumsticks, Garden salad.

It’s just a fun social evening, no serious skittles competitions, and a raffle with non-modelling prizes. There are plenty of places available so feel free to invite family and friends, the more the merrier. Please contact Andy if you’re interested.