Patch News – February 2020

As anyone living in the UK will know the February weather was nothing short of atrocious, we had storm after storm after storm. Some of the more hardy PAM members managed a few flights early in the month but that was about it. We did manage to continue with the patch repairing following the bullocks January wrecking spree. The old FARTS dragged the roller around a few times, concentrating on the area of the patch that was the most badly churned up.About the only advantage of having so much rain in February was that the ground was soft enough for the roller to be quite effective although there were times when it was just too soggy to roll. Towards the end of the month we even managed the first cut of 2020 and that made a big difference to the patch quality. Hopefully the weather will improve soon and we’ll be able to mow regularly, which should then bring a rapid improvement in the grass.But don’t despair, it’s perfectly good enough now for most planes and only ducted fan models with small retractable wheels would have problems getting off. One good thing about the terrible weather was that the bullocks would have been too exposed in ‘our’ field so they have remained in the lower field where there is some shelter for them. However, while they were in the top field in January Jeremy kindly took this photo of one of them licking my car.Jeremy reckons I need to be nicer to the bullocks and park closer but I’ve made a note to park further away!

The majority of what flying we did manage in February was done with foamboard jets, partly because despite being really light they handle strong winds very well and partly because they’re dirt cheap so it doesn’t matter too much if the worst happens. Dougal Entendre filmed some of them for this months’ video and he managed to catch Captain Slow’s SU-27 smashing mercilessly into my SU-27. Here are a couple of video screenshots of the ‘landings,’ amazingly my model was undamaged despite it looking bent in the middle in the second photo! Of course Captain Slow blamed me but the video proves beyond all doubt that it was his fault… Well ok maybe not but I write this so that’s what I’m saying! I re-launched and carried on flying but Captain Slow’s Sukhoi had lost one of its fins and he wouldn’t fly it again despite my assurances that it wouldn’t matter. The video ends with some footage of my SU-27 going rapidly backwards on 26th Feb, a day that must have been one of the windiest ones on which we’ve flown. Bob the Builder filmed it but he also flew that day, as did Dwayne Pipe and Captain Slow.

Unsurprisingly I only spotted one new model during the month, a rather nice foamboard T-50 that Woody purchased from Banggood. The T-50 is one that HobbyKing don’t sell and anyway HobbyKing don’t have very much stock of any of the foamie jets at the moment. I wasn’t sure it would be as good as the SU-27s and Mig-29s because I thought the large wing area might make it susceptible to gusty winds but that fear seems to have been unfounded.I had never heard of the T-50 so I Googled it and found this on Wikipedia: The Sukhoi Su-57 is a stealth, single-seat, twin-engine multirole fifth-generation jet fighter being developed since 2002 for air superiority and attack operations. Sukhoi’s internal name for the aircraft is T-50. The Su-57 is planned to be the first aircraft in Russian military service to use stealth technology. Its maiden flight took place on 29 January 2010 and the first production aircraft are planned to be delivered in 2020. The fighter is designed to have supercruise, supermanoeuvrability, stealth, and advanced avionics to overcome the prior generation fighter aircraft as well as ground and naval defences. The Su-57 is intended to succeed the MiG-29 and Su-27 in the Russian Air Force. So the SU-27s and Mig-29s we’ve all been flying are now outdated, we need to rush out and buy SU-57s! Woody’s equipped his with a Turnigy 2200kv motor and a 30A speed controller. He’s using a 3 cell 2200mAh lipo which also powers the Turnigy lights that he’s added. Woody asked me to do the first flight and it immediately flew just like the others with hardly any trim being needed. It handled the blustery wind well, much better than I had anticipated, and I was soon able to hand the transmitter over to Woody who had no problems with the T-50.The NATO name for the SU-57 is Felon so go on Woody, fly it like you stole it!

Although the awful weather has stopped most of the February flying it has meant we’ve had more time for building and I have some models that are still under construction models to show you. First up is Captain Slow’s Splot which isn’t really under construction, it’s like a couple more pieces have congealed together since the last time I saw it!It’s looking pretty good so far and at the current rate of progress he’s just about keeping ahead of the woodworm. But I mustn’t be negative, Captain Slow reckons he’ll have it ready for its’ maiden in April…next year, seriously!

The next model is Chas’s very nice Westland Lysander that he’s building from a Tony Nijhuis plan along with the laser cut kit of parts. It’s 1/9th scale giving it a wingspan of 1676mm (66”) and not an easy build as you can see. This is what says about the construction so far: The undercarriage was fabricated from 3mm aluminium sheet and the stub axles turned on my lathe, as were the ‘stand offs’ for the motor. The motor mount face place was fabricated from an odd piece of Duralumin. As you may have noticed I have made a start on the starboard wing. This is quite tricky as the wing chord increases before it narrows again whilst the dihedral changes and the wing depth changes. I’m a little concerned about the aluminium undercarriage as it’s completely independent of the wheels spats and undercarriage fairing. If it bends it will be difficult to straighten. Therefore I’m considering fabricating a carbon fibre item. I can use the aluminium undercarriage to form a mould for the carbon fibre one. I’ve done some research on carbon fibre fabricating not realising there are two different routes to go down, hot and cold cure. Hot cure has the resin and hardener impregnated in the cloth and needs to be kept in a freezer. When used it is best vacuumed in a bag and then baked for eight hours at 100 degrees C. I think I’ll go the cold route which is similar to using fibreglass. This uses more traditional epoxy and hardens at room temperature. Thanks for the info Chas, I think it’s going to keep you busy for quite a while yet. I wonder if any of the companies that produce carbon fibre parts for models have done Lysander undercarriage legs, unlikely but it’s worth a check. The final weight of the model 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. I can’t wait to see it in the air, fabulous.

Also in February Page Boy sent me a photo of his Lyndsey Todd designed Woodpecker that he’s now covered.I featured the model prior to covering way back in January 2019, what have you been doing Page Boy?! The Woodpecker is 70” wingspan and now looks pretty much finished, just needs the radio and motor fitting and it’ll be ready to fly. It should make a very nice calm summer’s day type of model.

A few months ago I bought myself a Multiplex Wingstabi Easy Control RX-7-DR. Basically it’s an advanced 3-axis gyro with a built-in 7 channel telemetry capable dual receiver. I have been looking at the Wingstabi range for a while but was put off by them being standalone units (without receivers) and they were very expensive, even a 7 channel one cost about £107. They needed to have all the parameters set-up on a PC or using a smart phone app but you’d need a Multiplex Bluetooth module for that, more expense. But then Multiplex produced the Easy Control version, available with or without a built-in receiver, that can be easily set-up just using a transmitter. Still not cheap but with a special offer mine cost around £95 which compares well with £73 for the equivalent receiver without a gyro.The Easy Control version can be upgraded to the full version with a free software download. I already have the necessary lead so I can do the upgrade for no cost but I haven’t bothered so far. I’ve fitted mine to my Hummer as I wanted to see if it would help with my prop hanging skills (or rather lack of prop hanging skills).Here’s a Multiplex video that, at about 40 seconds in shows a guy prop hanging a couple of feet off the ground when his mobile rings. He put the transmitter on the ground to answers his phone and the plane just stays prop hanging!

I’ve searched the box thoroughly but can’t find the girl in mine! The gyro can be switched from the transmitter to Damping, Heading Hold, or Off.  The Damping mode simply damps out wind turbulence, even on a really gusty day the model doesn’t get thrown about at all, a definite plus when trying to land safely. Heading Hold was the mode that interested me most, and with it switched on the Hummer will indeed prop hang unaided. But of course the plane has to be in the correct attitude with the correct throttle setting when you switch to Heading Hold, I’ve done it several times but not at low level. More practice required methinks. If you fancy trying a Wingstabi for yourself the versions without a built in receiver will work with any make of radio gear, you don’t have to use Multiplex radio.

With the lack of flying this month there are no flying shots to show you but there is a video, and this month some of the video and photos come from Captain Slow, Bob the Builder, 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

Many years ago I dated a lovely girl for a while, she was a hot air balloonist.
At least she let me down gently…

Colin Cowplain

5 Responses to “Patch News – February 2020”

  • Chas Butler Says:
    March 1st, 2020 at 6:10 pm

    Cheers for another enjoyable Patch News despite the limited amount of available material. For the record I did look around for an off-the-shelf carbon-fiber undercart. Found one that might have done but at £30 I was not prepared to take a chance.

  • Colin-Cowplain Says:
    March 1st, 2020 at 6:29 pm

    Thanks Chas 🙂 Better get moulding then!

  • Alan Wood Says:
    March 1st, 2020 at 8:16 pm

    Nice one Colin despite the lack of material .

  • Colin-Cowplain Says:
    March 2nd, 2020 at 5:09 pm

    Lucky you got a new plane that I could write about!

  • viv burgess Says:
    March 5th, 2020 at 9:37 am

    Hi lads, Vicky said we must stock up because of the c/v. I have a problem, which four model kits shall I buy?

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