October has arrived and the Covid crisis continues. As you are all aware the Government restrictions were tightened in September so we have reduced the number at the patch to six again. The booking system remains in place so if you want to fly please email John Wheeley to book a slot. All members can view the bookings online to see who and when people are going but in order to keep control of the system it’s not possible for members to add themselves.
Reading the BMFA guidance it seems we could probably increase the numbers if the club does a risk assessment etc. but the feeling in the committee at present is that we shouldn’t be trying to use ‘wriggle room’. As far as I am aware no members or any of their families have contracted Covid, let’s do our best to keep it that way.
The sheep arrived in early September as farmer George had predicted but we were surprised to see there were so many, George told us there were over 500 of the woolly wonders! They did a great job of ‘mowing’ the whole field for us but of course they also fertilised every single bit of it at the same time so it’s slightly mucky.Never mind, it’s not as bad as the larger deposits that the bullocks leave for us. We were concerned that the electric fence might not stop the sheep, their thick fleeces insulate them well, but our fears were unfounded and the patch remained sheep free. They have now been moved out again and the field should remain animal free for a while.
The patch is in excellent conditions and has been mown regularly by members of the FARTS, one of whom is Kryten:As we are now into autumn the mowing duties will reduce in frequency but so will the flying opportunities and September brought some very windy days although there were a few nice days as well so we flew several times.
On the PAM WhatsApp group in mid-August Page Boy asked if anyone was interested in buying his Volantex Phoenix 1600 electric glider. I’d been vaguely thinking about selling my little Boeing Stearman as I rarely fly it so I suggested doing a straight swap. Page Boy agreed we exchanged models a few days later. I was away on holiday at the beginning of September when I received some aerial shots of the Stearman from Page Boy that either Richard Osborn or his daughter Nicole had taken. I said “Don’t crash it” and he confessed that he’d already done so! Page Boy said that the Stearman failed to get away from the first take-off attempt but it must have survived undamaged as there were lots of photos of it in the air. Maybe he’d never flown a draggy biplane before.
I had done the maiden flight of the Phoenix for Page Boy when he first put it together so I knew it was a nice flier. On my return from holiday I fitted one of my receivers and flew the Phoenix. But about two minutes into the first flight there was suddenly no power and I realised the motor had failed. Page Boy said my 15 day warranty had just expired! When I examined the motor I found that the wire insulation had burnt through and the motor was dead. It’s a known problem on those motors so I replaced it with a spare Propdrive motor I had in my spares box and it’s now back flying again. It’s a great flier, more aerobatic than the Phoenix 2000 but not such a good glider of course.
Now if I could just work out how to turn the speed controller brake on to stop the folding prop from windmilling…
Along with the Stearman photos there were also some of Richard’s new model, a pretty Cirrus SR22T from E-flite. The Cirrus is 1500mm span foamie that comes in a Plug’n’Play package and is equipped with the Spektrum SAFE technology. This is what the E-flite website says about the full-size and model: Cirrus Aircraft has blazed a trail for the future of single-engine aircraft by developing modern safety, performance and amenity standards pilots crave. Generation 6 of their SR22T carries on the innovation hot-streak. As a result, more pilots can consider personal air travel the practical everyday commuting solution predicted by technology experts decades ago. The E-flite® Cirrus SR22T 1.5m park flyer is an officially licensed replica inspired by the original to deliver rich detail and a host of modern functional features that make scale flight an uncompromised thrill ride for more RC pilots than ever before.
The E-flite® Cirrus SR22T 1.5m celebrates the general aviation marvel with a scale model that’s easy to appreciate and fun to fly for a wide range of pilots. Like the full-scale airplane, this officially licensed E-flite replica is generously appointed with features that will get you in the air and flying in style. The two-piece, plug-in wing is equipped with slotted flaps, lights and a convenient Hands-Free Servo Connection System. Functional interior cabin and exterior navigation LED lighting combine with its modern trim scheme for authenticity that’s easy to appreciate from any angle. Rugged tricycle landing gear and steerable nose gear utilize over-size wheels to make take-offs and landings on grass fields or paved surfaces seem effortless while matching fairings and wheel pants complete the luxurious outline. Tinted cabin windows, a pilot figure and detailed cockpit take the scale experience even deeper. Plus, the powerful brushless motor and three-blade propeller deliver plenty of power to perform scale manoeuvres and sport aerobatics with ease.The Cirrus comes with an E-flite BL10 1250Kv outrunner,, an 11×7.5 three bladed prop, and a 40A speed controller. There are six 9g servos operating ailerons, elevator, rudder, flaps, and steerable nose-wheel. That nose-wheel looks a bit off in the first of the flying photos! Richard is using a 3700mAh 3 cell lipo so should get good long flights. I haven’t seen the Cirrus yet but it looks really nice in the photos and Page Boy (who did the maiden flight) said it flew extremely well and with the flaps down it landed at walking pace so is an ideal second model for Richard.
We has a visitor to the patch in September, Ben Smith, who contacted me via the club Facebook page and asked if it was ok to come along and see what we were all about. Unfortunately I was away on the Sunday he came but others took a photo and some video of Ben flying his Hawker Hurricane. It’s a foamie from Dynam and looks to be a good model. It’s 1250mm span, 1003mm long and weighs around 1450g. It comes with a 600Kv brushless outrunner, a 40A esc and a 3 bladed prop. It has worm drive electronic retracts which presumably means they go up and down in a nice scale like manner. Dynam suggest using a 3000mAh 4 cell lipo which should give flights of around 10 minutes.You can see it flying in this month’s video, Ben looks to be a very capable flier and hopes to join the club shortly.
In September I got around to putting together the Yak-130 that I’d bought from Banggood a couple of months ago.I chose it because it has more of a fuselage than the other foamboard models and despite basically being a square foam box I think it looks rather pretty, especially in the air. It didn’t come with any instructions but the method of assembly is pretty similar to the SU-27s & Mig-29s that HobbyKing sell. I used a hot melt glue gun for all the joints that can’t be seen from the outside of the finished model and cyano for the joints that can be seen. Hot melt works well on foamboard but is a bit messy and doesn’t look very good, cyano doesn’t melt the foamboard and seems to work ok but I’m not convinced that it’s as strong as hot melt. You do need to be very careful when using cyano as it’s very easy to spoil the printed coloured finish with just a tiny drop in the wrong place… ask me how I know! The kit includes a carbon tube wing spar and a few pieces of flat carbon strip that fit into pre-cut slots in the wing, tailplane, and fin. The ailerons are cut out but remain attached by the thinnest of foamboard hinges and I didn’t think they’d last long in flight so I used Blenderm tape over the top and I also used Blenderm to attach the elevator. There are pre-cut holes for the servos and all the linkages and control horns are supplied and they all fitted perfectly. There is a ply plate to mount the motor, once fitted the motor can’t be removed without cutting the plate out of the airframe. As with the other foamboards I’ve opened up the propeller slot considerably to reduce the prop noise. I used exactly the same powertrain as I already have in both my SU-27 and Mig-29, a 2306 2200Kv drone motor fitted with a 6×4.5 prop and a 3 cell lipo with a capacity of anything from 1300mAh to 2200mAh. I initially fitted a 25A speed controller I had in my spares box but on the first flight I discovered two problems, firstly that it seems to be in helicopter mode and takes about 5 seconds to power up to full speed, and secondly 25A isn’t enough. Some of the first flight can be seen in this month’s video where you’ll see that the motor suddenly stops due to the speed controller objecting to the high current. Fortunately the Yak was over the patch in a very strong wing at the time so the plane simply floated backwards and landed on the patch! I used a 6×3 prop for the rest of the flights that day and didn’t have any more over current problems but I haven’t been able to change the helicopter mode so I’ve now fitted a 30A controller that is in the correct mode. The Yak flies very well, similar to the other foamboards, although like the Sukhoi, I intend to fit a rudder to improve the handling when in high alpha.
On the morning of Sunday 27th September Dougal Entendre and others were flying and Dougal was making the most of some slope lift with his Multiplex Blizzard in the strong northerly wind. He had a good first flight but this is what he reports happened next: Just prior to launching for the 2nd flight I saw a low helicopter to the North, so I didn’t launch. Just as well, because it came almost directly across the patch at about 3 times house height, towards the IOW. It was a red Gazelle, and fortunately none of us were flying at the time, or there could have been a conflict. Fortunately there was no problem this time and we have never had a problem with full-size aircraft but it serves as a reminder to us all to always be alert and aware of other aviation.
On the last Saturday of September we met up with prospective new members Stephen Crowley and his son Max. There was a very strong wind blowing so we didn’t fly but we checked over the model they have built. It’s a 42” Balsa Basics Cub produced by Vintage Models, a three channel trainer that is described as ‘docile and friendly’.Stephen and Max have made a good job of the model and only a couple of minor issues were pointed out which should be easily sorted. Unfortunately with Covid limiting the numbers at the patch, winter approaching, and Max being at school five and a half days a week it might be a while before Stephen and Max are able to get much flying in but hopefully we’ll be able to get them in the air before too long.
Meanwhile young Charlie has been doing well with his FMS Easy Trainer as has now done several flights from launch to landing with no instructor assistance at all. His first landing was on the patch and it quite rightly earned him a well-deserved round of applause from all in the pits. The strong September winds curtailed some of his flying but he’s coming on in leaps and bounds. His next model will be a secondhand Wot-4 kindly donated by John Warren.
A couple of days ago I saw one of our near neighbours posting leaflets through letterboxes and I was intrigued to know what they were. Would it be raising money for the NHS, a socially distanced coffee morning, an 80th Battle of Britain celebration? In due course he reached our letterbox and I rushed to read it…he’d lost his drone!I’ve removed the chaps name and address to save his embarrassment. I know I shouldn’t laugh but it did strike me as rather funny. I had seen a drone buzzing around a couple of times but couldn’t work out where it was from, now I know! It was extremely windy the day he lost it, much too windy for a lightweight drone, so I’m not surprised the Return to Home function didn’t work, his best bet would to be to follow a line downwind. At the moment I don’t know if he’s got it back or not but I would imagine someone would be kind enough to hand it over if they found it.
Video time now, 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
An F-4 Phantom pilot at a joint military and civilian airfield requested clearance to take off, but the Air Traffic Controller told him he’d have to hold due to the large amount of civilian traffic.
After several repeatedly impatient requests to take-off by the Phantom pilot the Controller suggested that if the pilot could reach 14,000ft within half the runway length he could take off; otherwise he would have to continue to hold.
To the Controller’s surprise the Phantom pilot acknowledged the tower and began to roll. At the runway halfway marker the aircraft pulled up vertically and kept going until it reached 14,000ft, then levelled off.
The Air Traffic Controller had no option than to hand the Phantom pilot over to Departures and wish him a nice day, since the pilot had met the conditions laid down. He said it was the most amazing thing he’d ever seen!