Patch News – July 2020

August already and despite the Covid-19 restrictions many of us have managed lots of flying in July. The number allowed at the field is now a theoretical 30 but the booking system remains in place so if you want to fly please email John Wheeley beforehand, preferably at least 24 hours before. July saw several of the models built during lockdown flown for the first time, including Woody’s Hawker Hunter which finally got airborne. The patch is in excellent condition having been regularly mown by the FARTS (Friday Afternoon Rural Trimming Society).The sunny weather brought out lots of insects including this little grasshopper that hitched a lift on my F-22 Raptor.One of the Ikarus C42’s from Solent Flight based at Lower Upham airfield appeared to be practising engine out procedures when we arrived one morning, fortunately only one of them was directly over our field.

Last month I reported that Woody’s Hunter had been completed but we hadn’t managed to get it away from a launch. One of the problems was a sticky elevator snake and Woody managed to sort that. Then he did a thrust test which proved to be ok but the overall weight of the model was much more than it should be so in July we tried it with a 1500mAh battery instead of a 2200mAh. As well as saving weight it moved the centre of gravity slightly rearward to the correct position. Catapult King was seconded for launching and at last the Hunter took to the skies.It was a bit out of trim and very twitchy on ailerons but at least it was flying. When landing I discovered that it suddenly drops the right wing if slowed up but it survived undamaged. After some adjustments to the control movements and exponential we tried again and the second flight was much better, still twitchy but much better.I kept the speed up on the landing approach and got it down safely on the patch. Excerpts of both flights are in this month’s video. Sadly I think it will never be perfect because it’s just too heavy but it flies and looks great in the air

I also featured Norwegian Nick’s F-86 Sabre last month which was almost ready for flight. Nick flew it twice in July and it flies really well although, like the Hunter, it’s proved to be rather too twitchy on ailerons at first.The Sabre uses 4 cells rather than 3 but still manages to weigh less than the Hunter. After the first successful flight Nick went off to finish the colour scheme and it now looks superb in it’s Royal Norwegian Air Force ‘Jokers’ colours. He flew the Sabre again later in the month and it goes away from the launch well and flies beautifully although it did suffer a rather abrupt arrival caused by twitchy ailerons and loss of orientation I think. Fortunately there was no damage so with a little more tweaking it should be perfect. Some of the first flight can be seen in this month’s video. Nick also brought his Sea Vixen along to fly but after setting up the launch ramp and bungee he discovered that the Vixen launching hook was broken so he couldn’t fly it. Never mind, they looked brilliant together on the ground.

In the June Patch News I admitted to being jealous of Captain Slow’s model rack so I decided to make one for myself. Over the years my model room has become a model store and every time I want to do some building or repairing I have to empty the room of the models. She who must be obeyed is very understanding but does sometimes mention it when there are models on the landing, in the second bedroom, and especially on our bed. Luckily I don’t have any oil dripping I/C models these days! The obvious solution was to store the planes in the garage but unusually we do actually put a car in it so what I needed was a bench mounted rack. I was able to fix the rack directly to my workbench, a shelf, and a rafter so I didn’t need it to be free-standing like Captain Slow’s. This also meant it could be taller and hold more models, mine holds eight. I can stand the remaining small models on the bench around the rack and there are currently thirteen models on there. I spent just under £20 at Screwfix on some 21.5mm overflow pipe, a few 90 degree bends, and some T pieces. I already had the foam insulation.Note that it’s overflow pipe and fittings not water pipe. The fittings are just a push fit and would normally be glued but for my purposes I didn’t need to glue them so it will be easy to reconfigure for different models later on.Literally just as I was placing the last model in the rack and demonstrating to Doreen how brilliant it all was a courier arrived with a parcel for me, yes, another new model…how embarrassing, unsurprisingly it was mentioned!

So what could be in that thin package? It’s another foamboard jet of course and this time it’s one from Banggood.It’s a Yak-130 that has a part-box fuselage and I think it looks rather pretty, I hope it flies as good as it looks.I really fancied the JAS-39 Saab Gripen but, as well as being a few pounds dearer, for some reason the postage on it was £9.52 but only £1.65 for the Yak. I had some discount points to use so the Yak cost me just over £23 including delivery. I haven’t had time to build it yet but it arrived undamaged and looks good, watch for a report next month.

The Folland Gnat that Dwayne Pipe is building from scratch is coming along nicely and should be ready to test fly before too long. Early in July he sent me a couple of photos of the completed construction, ready for covering. Then at the end of the month he sent some more of the covered model, just got to hinge the control surfaces etc.

Catapult King recently bought the foamboard Sukhoi SU-27 that Dougal Entendre had won in a club raffle a while back. Dougal says he doesn’t like them so decided to sell it on rather than build it and discover that he was wrong! This is what Catapult said about it: It uses a 2200mAh 3s battery as the weight seems to be needed to get close to the CG, there’s a FrSky D4R-II receiver and a good old 30A HobbyKing ESC (Love em!). The motor was the hardest as I couldn’t find one for love nor money during lock down, but Gary came to the rescue and gave me a Turnigy D2826 2200Kv which he had spare, thanks Gary.  Catapult soon had it all put together and asked Dougal to do the test flight for him. The test flight went well and Dougal soon handed the transmitter back to Catapult who had no problems at all with the Sukhoi. I have to confess that I forgot to photograph Catapult with his new toy but you can see some of the first flight in this month’s video, including the part when Dougal almost buried it while inverted.

Certainly the biggest new model to be flown this month was Mini-Mike’s rather lovely P.68 Partenavia Victor. The kit was made by Modell Studio in the Czech Republic and at 2m (79″) span it’s a big one and it only just fits in his car. Mini-Mike has fitted the Victor with a pair of Tornado Thumper 3542 1250KV motors that are powered by a pair of 4 cell 3300 lipos. There’s plenty of room in there to fit whatever batteries he wants and one very cruel person was overheard saying that Mini-Mike will be useful when it comes to the lambing season! I’ve no idea what they meant… He said the 1250KV is too high and even using 9×6 props the motors are pulling more than the stated maximum current but he decided to see if it would fly and then decide what changes to make. He needn’t have worried, the Victor shot into the air despite the motors sounding very odd. Once he’d reached cruising height and raised the flaps the model burbled around on about third throttle but even then the motors didn’t sound too happy.It was reminiscent of Bob’s Easy Twin that had similar problems with erratic running motors which he eventually solved by replacing the Y-lead between the receiver and speed controllers. Anyway, the Victor stooged around for several minutes, looked great, and was otherwise problem free. Not wanting to push his luck Mini-Mike called landing, lowered the flaps, and discovered the Victor floats on a lot but made a nice landing just off the patch.

We were very pleased to have two prospective new members attend the field towards the end of the month and I understand Page Boy will be bringing a third one along with him soon. The first to appear was Chris Winkworth who initially came along one Sunday while we were sheltering from the rain in the barn. Chris brought along a model he’s been building on and off for a few years and it was given a thorough going over by us all, poor Chris! It’s a tissue covered semi-vintage style low-winger but currently only has rudder and elevator controls. The general consensus was that with almost no dihedral it’ll need to to be fitted with some ailerons before anyone risks flying it. Dougal Entendre got really excited when he spotted that Chris had a make of radio that he’d never heard of before! It’s a Detrum 2.4G GAVIN-6A 6CH. Dougal found the manual online quicker than you could say ‘Google’ and immersed himself in that for the rest of the morning. Chris was very heartened to know that even if the model doesn’t fly and gets smashed to bits he can always flog the radio gear to Dougal for a zillion pounds!

The second newbie was 11 year old Charlie who was brought along by mum Nadine. Charlie came equipped with an FMS Easy Trainer, a 1280mm spam foamie with a top mounted pusher motor powered by a 2 cell 1200mAh lipo. I think it must have come as a PNP including the radio gear as the transmitter is a small toy style one with manual trims. I haven’t seen manual trims for years, they seemed very odd having long been used to electronic ones.Bob the Builder gave the model a thorough check over with Charlie and made sure everything was as it should be and in doing so discovered the lipo was only 31% charged. None of us had any 2 cell packs with us so the test flight would need to be a very short one. I was nominated as test pilot and can report that the model was perfect, no trims required, it handled the fairly windy conditions well, and should be an ideal trainer for Charlie.

Knowing that we had some new kids on the block Captain Slow and Woody sorted out a buddy box set-up for the newbies to learn on which consisted of Woody’s Wot Trainer and a pair of Spektrum transmitters with a buddy lead. Captain Slow and I test flew the model and trimmed it out before handing the slave transmitter over to Chris to try. It all went well so after a quick battery change Charlie had a go and again everything went well.They both over-controlled as beginners always do but after a few minutes they were getting the feel for it and should be fine given so more practice.  We had enough lipos to give them both another flight and this time Dougal was given the Chief Test Pilot’s hat. He soon handed control over to Chris and all fine for a few minutes.But Dougal suddenly found he had no power although the radio seemed to be working ok. The model came down in the valley but fortunately the damage wasn’t bad, just the tail broken off. We initially assumed he had run out of battery but when checked it there was about 60% remaining. The motor was tested and appeared to be fine so that only left the radio. Further checks will be carried out but it would seem to be yet another case of b….dy Spektrum…

Over the winter Kryten built himself a new Swannee, a conversion of a single channel model that he had first built way back in 1966. I featured the new Swannee in June this year so I won’t bore you with the details again, suffice to say that this one has electric power, throttle, rudder, elevator, much reduced dihedral and ailerons. Kryten’s made a lovely job of the model and has been waiting quite a while for a decent day to test fly it. The Swannee is a low-wing model which was quite unusual back in the days of rudder only control and Kryten’s never flew very well.Kryten thinks that was probably more down to his lack of building skills and a decent building board than the model design so we had high hopes for the new version. We weren’t disappointed and, after the addition of some down elevator trim (not surprising as single channel models had to climb under power) Swannee flew beautifully. Success after just 54 years! Kryten managed to take some flying shots while I did the test flight and I shot some video while he was flying it. It was too late to add the video this month but you’ll be able to see Swannee in action next month.

Apparently I missed the fun one Friday afternoon when Woody landed the wrong side of a barbed wire fence and managed to get himself totally caught up on it. He spiked his left arm and caught the right leg of his trousers on the top strand was unable to move, remaining trapped until 1066 spotted his predicament and went along to free him. The sad part of the tale was that nobody took any photos of the woeful Woody! Captain Slow promptly re-named him Major Disaster and continuing with the ranking theme Chris Winkworth will henceforth be known as WingCo.

Kryten brought his decent camera along in July so I have some of his excellent quality flying shots for you to see, Nick’s Sabre in particular looks superb. Apparently the only usable shot he got of my Stearman was as I was doing an emergency landing because the battery was hanging out. A likely story Kryten, I’ll remember that…!

Video time now, this month with additional contributions from Dougal Entendre and Captain Slow, 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

A Beechcraft KingAir (a ten seat, twin engine aircraft) had just left the runway on take-off when there was an enormous bang and the starboard engine burst into flames. After stamping on the rudder to sort out the asymmetric thrust, trying to feather the propeller and going through the engine fire drills with considerable calmness and aplomb, the stress took its toll on the Captain.
He transmitted to the Tower in a level friendly voice: “Ladies and gentleman. There is no problem at all but we’re just going to land for a nice cup of tea.”
He then switched to Cabin Intercom and screamed at the passengers: “Mayday. Mayday. Mayday. Engine fire. Prop won’t feather. If I can’t hold this asymmetric we’re going in. Emergency landing. Get the crash crew out.”

The aircraft landed safely but with the passengers’ hair standing on end.

Colin Cowplain

2 Responses to “Patch News – July 2020”

  • Keith Evans Says:
    August 1st, 2020 at 11:46 am

    Well done Colin, lots of new aircraft. Quite liked the joke at the end.!!

  • pageboy Says:
    August 1st, 2020 at 6:28 pm

    well done colin another well written and informative patch news! nice to see lots going on last month and good to see some new members, i am looking forward to seeing that gnat fly which looks great dwayne.