Patch News – January 2020

January turned out to be an interesting start to the new decade, unfortunately not for all the right reasons. It started well with reasonable weather and a good turnout on New Year’s Day but when the Midweekers went to fly on 8th Jan we discovered the bullocks had returned to the field and managed to trash the fence and the patch. We think something must have spooked them as the fence was switched on but they had completely destroyed it, broken many of the posts, ripped all the wires apart, and even torn the roofing felt off the box lid. The patch looked like a battlefield, all the months of hard work had been undone is a very short space of time. While Captain Slow kept the bullocks at bay Woody and I managed to sort out some undamaged posts and using the spare reel of wire we were able to get a fence of sorts working again. On Friday the 10th we had an excellent turnout of helpers to work on the patch, lifting, stamping, and rolling until it was at least usable again. Lots of members have continued with the restoration and it’s not too bad now although nothing like as good as before. 1066 ordered some new equipment, metal posts, insulators, stronger wire etc. and we now have a fence that is hopefully better than before. I expect once it’s dried out a bit we’ll start to mow the patch and all being well by springtime it should be pretty good again. But we mustn’t be too disheartened, it’s perfectly useable at the moment for almost all models. Other than damage to the patch January was fairly normal with lots of wind and rain but despite that some new models were flown on the nicer days.

First up, test flown by me on 1st January is Chris P Bacon’s new Ripmax Wots Wot Foam-E. It’s another model designed by Chris Foss of course. I think this photo must have been after the first flight, Chris P is actually smiling… Chris P previously owned the much larger 1280mm (50”) span wooden Wots Wot ARTF which used a 5 cell lipo and weighed around 7lbs but it met its demise a few months ago. I had flown that one a few times and never felt comfortable with it, not quite sure why, it just didn’t inspire confidence. Oddly the adverts for it say “The new Wots Wot biplane is the latest model in the growing range of Chris Foss designed ARTF aircraft, and has (by general agreement) the best flying characteristics of them all!” so maybe it was just me. But I found Chris P’s new little Foam-E version to be totally different, it felt right as soon as it took off and I immediately felt at home with it.The Foam-E is just 1000mm (39.37”) span and weighs only 2.6lbs so it’s 78% of the size of the larger one but only 52% of the weight, I wonder if that explains why it felt nicer. Chris P bought this one from Sussex Model Centre and it came complete with a 920kv outrunner motor, a 40A esc, a 12×6 prop, and four 9g servos. He is using 3 cell 2200mAh lipos from HobbyKing and says that Ripmax have finally sorted out a decent battery compartment and hatch. I wonder if they’ve beefed up the undercarriage mounting as well…time will tell. You can watch some of that first flight in this month’s video where you’ll see that I was enjoying flying it.

Also flown on 1st January was Dougal’s Snub Nosed Skyfun. He’s flown it before and last month I explained why it’s got a snub nose but now he has fitted an HD camera to that flat front. The camera was a Christmas present  and it came complete with a waterproof housing which seemed sensible for landing on a damp and mucky patch.Dougal is planning to add FPV equipment with on screen display of altitude, heading, distance, and an arrow pointing back to the launch point so having a separate camera to record the flight in High Definition without all the screen information showing is a good idea. I’ve included some of the footage in this month’s video.

In Patch News a couple of months ago I included some photos of Page Boy’s Slec Funfly under construction and this month he sent me a photo of the model now that’s he covered it. He’s just got to add some trim and then fit the electrics so it shouldn’t be too long before we see it flying.It certainly looks nice and should be a good flyer, it has got an excellent pedigree.

We haven’t seen much of Cream Egg for a while, he keeps making excuses about work and decorating chores but we know it’s really because he’s always away on holidays. Last time he flew he broke his Hobbyking Voltigeur so he’s scouring the internet for a suitable replacement. Finally after months of deliberation he bought…another Voltigeur! And why not, he really liked the first Voltigeur and it really suited his needs so another one was the obvious replacement. The Voltigeur is designed for 3 cells but when he had his first one Cream Egg discovered that his 3 cell packs were past their best so he switched to some 4 cell ones he had spare. I assume he’s also using the 4 cell packs on this new one, it seemed to have loads of power. Don’t break this one, Cream Egg, look after it!

Captain Slow (the new PAM Chairman, please stand) spent Christmas visiting one of his sons who lives in New York and on his travels around the area took the opportunity to look for some local model clubs. He only found one where somebody was flying but took some photos for us to see.

The club is called Blue & Gray and has a good set up with a clubhouse and some outside work benches and so on.

The guy that Captain Slow met flew a 60” span CAP 232. Looking at the specs it’s a very high quality foamie that runs on either 5 or 6 cells. He also had a very nice looking EDF F-4 Phantom but didn’t fly it that day.

Captain Slow also sent me some photos of something he bought while serving in Germany back in the nineties. Like most of us he has an old box in which he keeps long scraps of balsa and other bits and pieces and he’s just realised it once contained a Robbe Varta-Fly. You can see the specs in the photos but basically it was an early electric glider that used a brushed motor and NiCad batteries. Ooh I can smell the nostalgia…!

Chas Butler has now finished and flown his Limbo Dancer that I featured naked last month (the plane was naked not me, don’t get excited). He’s fitted it with a 900kv Pelikan 3548/05 outrunner fitted with a 13×7 prop fed via a 70A speed controller. It’s ended up weighing in at 3lbs 8.5oz with a 2900mAh lipo which means the wing loading is just 12oz/sq.ft.  Chas has been talking about trying it on 4 cells with an 11×8 prop but so far has only used 3 cell pack. It certainly had enough power when I filmed the first flight. On that flight he found he had too much elevator movement and not enough aileron so he made some adjustments before the second flight and it was much better. I think it will prove to be an excellent ‘all round’ sport model, the only thing I don’t like is the need to remove the wing to swap out the battery pack. Chas says there’s not an easy way round it as the fuselage is very tight for space. Just to prove me wrong, next time I saw Chas with the Limbo Dancer he’d managed to add a small hatch to the underside of the fuselage through which he was changing the batteries!He said it’s a bit fiddly and needs a bit of refining but it’s easier than removing the wing each time.

On 3rd February last year lots of us flew in the snow at our field and I was able to fly my Bush Mule on skis, great fun. But the snow also found some pilots struggling with a lack of power due to cold batteries and cold hands despite using transmitter muffs. So I ordered myself a heater for my transmitter muff, the idea being to pre-heat my batteries before flight and then keep my hands warm during the flight. Needless to say the weather warmed up before I had a chance to test it so it wasn’t until this month that I’ve actually used it in anger. The heater unit consists of an adjustable temperature controller connected to a pair of pads containing heater elements and the power is supplied by a 2 or 3 cell lipo. Having found the controller to be very sensitive I rewired the pads in series rather than parallel as it could get dangerously hot running it on 3 cells but would probably be fine on 2 cells. I fitted the system into my Turnigy muff with strips of Velcro so it’s easy to remove when not required.I haven’t really tried pre-heating the lipos in it yet but I used it to keep my hands warm several times in January and found it work well. For most of the year it’s really not necessary but for the really cold weather it’s a definite bonus. For a cost of around £13 I think it’s very good, the only snag being that HobbyKing don’t have any in stock.

Kryten send me a few of the excellent photos that he was able to take in January and I also have also included a couple I had left over from last month for you to enjoy. Thank you as always Kryten.

Video time now and this month some of the video and photos come from Captain Slow, Bob the Builder, Dwayne Pipe, 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

When I got home from flying the other day I saw that my wife left a note on the fridge.
“It’s not working, I can’t take it anymore! Gone to stay at my mothers.”
I opened the fridge, the light came on and the beer was cold.
It’s working perfectly, not sure what she was talking about…

Colin Cowplain

6 Responses to “Patch News – January 2020”

  • Chas Butler Says:
    February 1st, 2020 at 12:26 am

    Cheers Andy. Another very enjoyable edition of Patch News. I can go to bed now (00:25).

  • Colin-Cowplain Says:
    February 1st, 2020 at 9:55 am

    You just waited up to see the photo of yourself didn’t you Chas!

  • Capt Slow Says:
    February 1st, 2020 at 6:13 pm

    Dear Colin, whilst you have, as ever, produced an excellent Blog, I do wish you would reproduce the information I sent you correctly. Firstly I visited two clubs in the USA: the top picture is of a club that was closed due to weather and is called Blue and Grey – answers as to why on a postcard; the second club where I saw the models is the LCRCC. The first of the two models is a Flex Innovation: 6 cells and 57 inch span. Secondly, the Robbe Varta Fly was available in about the year 2000.

  • Colin-Cowplain Says:
    February 1st, 2020 at 8:59 pm

    Never let the truth get in the way of a good story…! The Varta Fly came out in the nineties, I’ve changed it now 🙂

  • 1066 Says:
    February 6th, 2020 at 5:51 pm

    Well done CC, lots of work gone in to this and is very much appreciated even if it did take me 6 days to get around to reading it.:)

  • Colin-Cowplain Says:
    February 10th, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    Thanks Steve:-)

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