STOP PRESS: A new lockdown has just been announced, I think that will mean no flying after 4th Nov for a month.
October has come and gone, the clocks have gone back and winter has blown in. The patch has been mown a couple of times and part of it was rolled to flatten out the worst bumps. The poor weather has meant fewer opportunities to fly although the hardier members managed to fly several times in October including this dodgy looking pair: I heard that later that day Page Boy tore the wheels off Richard’s Wot-4 whilst ‘helping him’ to land! Who told me? The clue is in the photo. Since the sheep moved out in late September the field has remained animal free but there are some young and inquisitive bullocks in the lower fields so I expect they’ll be joining us before too long.
During October Bob the Builder decided to take the plunge and try his first EDF. He chose an Arrows Models Marlin. It’s a very pretty EPO foam model with a wingspan of 910mm. It’s PNP so Bob just had to screw a few bits together and program the transmitter. It comes fitted with a 64mm 11 bladed fan which is driven by a 2840 3250Kv motor, a 40A esc, and 8 x 9g digital servos which control the ailerons, elevator, rudder, and flaps. All the purchaser has to fit is a 5 channel receiver and a 4 cell lipo in the 2200-2700mAh range. It has a tricycle undercarriage which can easily be removed if you prefer to hand launch and belly land the Marlin. Even the stickers are pre-applied so it’s a very complete package for around £150. Bob asked me to test fly the Marlin and I found it flew well and handled nicely. Using full flap for landing slowed the Marlin up well and I quickly found it was best to keep a little power and speed on to stop it bouncing on touchdown. Bob had a few minutes stick time once it was in the air and was confident enough to take it off himself later but he has yet to land it. All in all a very nice EDF, good choice Bob.
While Bob was in his modelling shed working on the Marlin he also got round to repairing his HobbyKing Walrus. The Walrus had been damaged when Bob let WingCo Winkworth have a go with it and, as Bob says, he let WingCo get too low before snatching back the transmitter. The nose of the Walrus was smashed back as far as the wing leading edge but the rest of the model was undamaged so Bob simply grafted on a new balsa nose and fitted a 2836 1400Kv motor on the front. Can barely tell the difference… Well ok, it’s not the prettiest repair I’ve seen but it does the job and the Walrus now flies as well as ever. Here are before and after pictures:
During October John Warren very kindly offered his crash damaged Wot-4 complete with servos free of charge to any PAM member. I believe the model is actually a Student 64E Intermediate Trainer from HobbyKing, not a Wot-4 but it seems pretty much identical and the manual, which can be downloaded from the HK website, is actually the Wot-4 manual. But I’ve no idea what the 64 in the name stands for as the wingspan is 48”.Chas suggested it would make an ideal second plane for Charlie and at around the same time some of Gentleman Jim’s gear became available so I took on the repairs and fitted one of Jim’s receivers. I had a spare Propdrive 3536 910Kv motor and 40A speed controller which I thought would be ideal for the Wot-4. The Kv is a bit low on 3 cells but I decided that with a 12 x 6 propeller it should be fine. I didn’t have the remains of the cowl to copy so I just left the model without one, finishing the fuselage at the front bulkhead. It turned out that even with a 3300mAh lipo it was a bit tail heavy so I had to screw a lump of lead to the bulkhead which does little to enhance the looks.Apparently the Wot-4 has a ply box on the bulkhead to bring the motor further forward and help with the centre of gravity but never having owned a Wot-4 I didn’t realise that until later. The repair job wasn’t too difficult and while I was doing it I took the opportunity to make sure the front bulkhead and the undercarriage mounting were strong enough to withstand some hard landings. Along with the receiver Charlie’s mum Nadine bought a Hitec transmitter, some 3300mAh 3 cell lipos and a suitable lipo charger, all of which came from Gentleman Jim.So young Charlie now has an excellent complete set-up and I’m sure that Jim will be pleased that the equipment is being put to good use by a young newcomer to the hobby. When I did the test flight the powertrain turned out to be just right for Charlie, it has enough power for cruise around and do some gentle aerobatics but it’s not screaming around the sky even at full throttle, and flight times are a safe 6 minutes. Charlie really likes the plane and he’s being flying it well right from his first go with it. He has already done several complete flights including the take-offs and landings without breaking anything. You can see Charlie in action in two parts of this month’s video.
OK, it’s confession time. All who know me will agree that I’m a bit of smart-a**e, always ready with an insult, quick comeback, and the first to take the mickey out of others. So you’ll be pleased to hear that I made a really stupid mistake when I put my foamboard Yak-130 together. When I posted a review with photos on the Banggood website somebody pointed out that the wingtip mounted missiles are supposed to be folded in half before being attached. So it was scalpel time. I cut them off, glued them folded over on themselves, and then stuck them back on the tips.It looks so much better now. I can’t believe I got it so wrong, what an idiot…Doh!
A couple of months ago I pictured the remains of John Warren’s Albatross which had suffered a mid-flight structural failure. The model was beyond repair but, not to be defeated, John has got a replacement Albatross well under way. Well done John it’s looking good so far, there’s a lot of work gone into it already, and I love all the planking.
For one October flying session we were joined by Ben Smith as a guest flier. He flew the Dynam Hurricane that he had flown on his previous visit and also a Parkzone Spitfire. Unfortunately I forgot to take any photos at the field so I asked him for some photos and info on the models: The Spit is standard Parkzone Spit with E-flite retracts installed. Flies just so on a 2200 3s with the only gripe being the ground handling (or lack of it) which is due to the smartie-sized wheels. A little shove on take-off and she leaps up fine though with guaranteed nose over on landing!As for the Hurricane… I swapped out the supplied esc for a 50a Beatles sbec unit and run it on 2 x 2200mAh 4s packs. This did require some trimming of the foam to accommodate the two batteries side by side but everyone I spoke to who owns one has added lead to the front – I’ve tried to make the extra weight do something for me! Seems to have worked as I can easily get 10 minutes from the packs and the extra weight certainly helps punch through the air better and achieve smoother flying.
I also have swapped out the supplied wing leds, which were like candles, to some spare “strip” leds I had lying around and covered the lenses with thin paper to hide. These are connected to a brushed esc running behind a 12v regulator which allows me to switch them on and off remotely. The regulator is there to try and avoid burning the brushed esc out which has held up so far…
The retracts are run on separate channels with delays built in to achieve the staggered effect and lighten the load on esc bec, but the retracts units need replacing as they simply haven’t held up and one has failed completely on the last outing, requiring pretty much zero airspeed to pull the wheel all the way up! Thanks Ben. Woody has just ordered one of these so now he knows what mods to make. You can see Ben’s models flying in this month’s video.
With colder weather on its way, and knowing that cold hands aren’t conducive with good flying, Dwayne Pipe decided to add a heater to his Turnigy transmitter muff. HobbyKing used to sell universal heaters that were suitable for heating transmitter muffs, lipos, or model car tyres but they aren’t available now so Dwayne had to design his own. Dwayne bought a 12v heat plate from Banggood and added an on/off switch and warning light so he can leave a 3 cell lipo connected and simply turn it on when heat is required. The heat plate is actually made for heating beehives to warm the bees over winter and cut down on the amount of honey they eat so if you see him buzzing around…Dwayne cannabalised an old Spektrum transmitter for the on/off switch (at last someone has found a use for all those old Spektrum transmitters!) and mounted the assembly on a liteply base attached by Velcro, to insulate the heater from the plastic muff underneath and to be able to remove the heater if it’s not required. Dwayne flies mode 3 so has positioned the heat plate under his left hand but the heat warms the whole of the muff quite effectively. The plate heats up to around 40C and pulls 1A so a 2200mAh battery should last for a flying session.
I made a new best friend during October, no need to be jealous, it’s EverBuild Superglue Debonder. Don’t pretend you’ve never dripped superglue of your trousers and found it impossible to remove. I’ve previously used Loctite Glue Remover which is a gel that you leave on overnight before washing off. It worked reasonably well but often needed a second overnight application and it also removed all the colour from the spot so at around £4 for a 5ml tube I was unimpressed. The EverBuild Debonder costs just £1.85 for 20ml from Toolstation and works in 30 seconds.It’s a thin liquid so soaks into material and I needed several applications but it’s fast and works well. Being a debonder it’s intended to undo misaligned joints and so on but I’ve found it excellent at removing glue blobs from clothes and glue runs from Solarfilm etc. Apparently it’s also brilliant at removing glue blobs from kitchen worktops, stainless steel sinks, and vinyl flooring without any damage but obviously I wouldn’t know about that…
Dougal Entendre has been playing again and has put together a SonicModell Binary. Banggood describe the Binary as a 1200mm Wingspan EPO Twin Motor Multirole Aerial Survey FPV Platform Mapping RC Airplane. Gosh!This is what SonicModell says about it: This is the first time that SonicModell has released a plane based on requirements from private and government organizations to the hobby community. That’s right, Binary wasn’t born for the FPV enthusiasts, but for the people that fly every day UAVs for a living. Many of those organizations were flying several type of airframes (usually extremely large) and approached us with a list of requirements for a plane that can not only be used for their missions, but also to train new pilots. They needed something easier to carry, fully featured, and with lower risk in case of a crash. Yes, huge, heavy birds they do their job, but in the words of some of the pro pilots: “We do a lot of our missions over urban terrain… if an 8Kg UAV hits your head while you’re walking to work, your day will be ruined… Having said that, we cannot compromise performance and features. They all should be there”. Having that in mind and for the lapse of one year, we created several prototypes, until we got the perfect balance in every area without compromises. As we’re writing this, Binary has been adopted as a quick deployment UAV by 4 different government organizations, 3 private companies (Mapping, Security survey and Sea life watch). According to their records, in total, Binary has more than 375 successful missions (with no planes lost so far), hundreds of hours of training for rookie pilots and has been proven in the hardest conditions. Now it’s time to release her to the FPV community. That’s another Gosh then! Here’s what Dougal says about it: I bought the kit plus the lighting set and undercarriage set. I figured I could get the motors and propellers cheaper than the set offered by Banggood, and ended up buying a set of 4 Racerstar motors (so I’ve got a couple of spares!), same spec as the SonicModell ones except 1000kV instead of 1100. Even so, there’s tons of power and I worry that the 8045 3-blade props are overworking them, so I’m experimenting by chopping half an inch off every blade of a second pair (and rebalancing carefully!). I’ve run them in the garage but not tried it in the air yet. I’ve replaced the steerable nose-wheel because the leg bent and it stripped the output head of the servo (I think the servo itself is OK). The replacement leg is sprung so less likely to bend – I think it was one of the main legs from my Sportjet, which looks and flies much better without U/C. I think the Binary may be based on the full size Tecnam MRI, though that only has 2-bladed props. As you can see from the shot of the internals, it’s quite a busy receiver! I’ve avoided using any Y-leads, so the 12-ch Rx has outputs to the 7 servos (4 in the wing, elevator, rudder + steerable nose-wheel), two ESCs, and connection to the lighting controller. It’ll be even worse if I mount the FPV camera on a servo. I’m on plan C with transmitters, and have gone back to the Devo F12E.It’s quite big and heavy due in no small part to the FPV screen, but it’s got much better daylight visibility. Anyway the Binary flew very well. I had to wind in a load of up trim after the first flight, probably because I got the pushrod length wrong when I first did the linkages. It’s got tons of power from the 4s battery, and after 6 minute flights I was landing with about 50% remaining in the 3300mAh packs, and 60% still in the 3700mAh one. Quite fast, but capable of going much slower with the flaps down. Not surprisingly it pitches up when the flaps are dropped, so I’m going to mix in some down elevator. It didn’t steer too well after the first landing as the patch is quite bumpy, but I did manage to taxi it after flights 2 and 3. Looking forward to setting it up for FPV. I thought I’d fly it LOS (line of sight) first though as it’s quite a good looking model, and I wanted to see it flying with the lights on. Dougal’s Binary features in this month’s video where you’ll see that it flies extremely well. Sadly the lights don’t show in the video but when Dougal flew it on a very overcast day later in the month they showed up well.
Away from the patch and on a personal note for a moment, many of you will know that I had my 70th birthday in September (yes I know it’s impossible to believe I’m that old) and my daughter bought me a WW2 Dogfight Duo simulator experience for two which I enjoyed with my son on 5th October. It turned out to be ME109 and Spitfire simulators with a dividing screen between them and the pilots try to shoot each other down for thirty minutes and then swap planes for another thirty minutes. It was great fun and the simulators were surprisingly realistic. My wife Doreen took some photos and videos so if you want to see what it was it was like watch the video below.
My son bought me a 30 minute flight in a two seat Spitfire with Boultbee Flight Academy which I took on 20th October from Solent Airport Daedalus. Percy Vears had a one hour flight with Boultbee from Goodwood airfield back in June and hopefully the club will get to hear more about his flight later, maybe when club meetings resume. My flight took me east past Portsmouth harbour, then over to Ryde and west along the north coast of the Isle of Wight, then we dived down for a tight turn around the Needles, and back along the south coast of the island. I was able to take the controls for a while before we headed north for some aerobatics over the Solent, a victory roll, barrel roll, wingover, and a loop before returning to land back at Solent Airport, an amazing experience that I’ll never forget. I wasn’t allowed to film during the flight (although Boultbee make a 3D cockpit video of all flights and I’ll get a copy of my flight soon) but my family shot some video from the ground which you can view below.
Video time now, this month with additional video from Captain Slow, Dougal Entendre, and Charlie’s mum Nadine. 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
The air traffic controller cleared a small Cessna for landing but as the Cessna turned to final approach an airliner called in ‘over the marker’ (5 miles from the airport).
The Cessna was only about a half mile from the runway, and the controller knew he could land and clear the runway well before the airliner would land, so he cleared the airliner to land as well.
A few seconds later, the Cessna pilot asked the controller, “How far behind me is that 737?”
Before the controller could reply the airline pilot keyed his mike and in a deep bass voice said, “Don’t look back…!”