As I begin writing this edition the country is slowly returning to normal, or at least ‘the new normal’ and many members have managed to get some flying in. The gradual easing of the lockdown rules has also made life easier for patch maintenance and it’s been mown several times which has brought it back to almost pristine condition although the lack of rain has caused it to go rather brown. The mowing has been led mostly by 1066 and Captain Slow has managed to keep the fence going throughout lockdown with regular charging and changing of the battery.At the end of May the bullocks returned and tended to join pilots alongside the patch but they’ve learnt not to touch the fence so haven’t caused us any serious problems. It would be nice if we could teach then not to wander across the take-off and landing areas at critical moments but overall they’ve been more of an irritation than a problem.Dougal Entendre tells me that Woody backed into the live fence during one session and rather disturbingly he seemed to enjoy the shock! Mike Smith did the same thing next time out but apparently found it less enjoyable. This time the bullocks visit was only a brief one and at the time of writing the field is bullock free again. Oops, you can ignore that, on Friday 26th Woody reported that the bullocks would be returning and sure enough they’re back.
During lockdown there were so many new models being built that I was overwhelmed with material for Patch News so I expected to be able to report on lots of maiden flights but that just hasn’t happened. With the restrictions of the number of pilots at the patch I haven’t attended as much as usual so I expect I’ve missed a few of the new models but will catch up over the next couple of months. Please send me details and photos of any new models I’ve missed.
One I haven’t missed is Captain Slow’s now infamous Splot. It’s infamous because the build of the really basic, fast to put together model took the Captain two years to complete, and I haven’t missed it because it still hasn’t flown! I sneaked a couple of socially distanced photos in mid-April when I dropped by Captain Slow’s place to collect the fence battery and the Splot was virtually finished then but 2½ months later it still hasn’t flown. He swears it’s all finished but doesn’t want to rush into anything. I must admit I am rather jealous of his model storage rack though.
I forgot to include one particular photo in the last Patch News and it’s one that I know you’d want to see. Bob the Builder and I were flying as soon as we were allowed and before the patch has been cut. Because the patch grass was longer than the rest of the field we left the fence up and flew from outside the circle, landing between the pits and the patch. At least that was the idea but Bob misjudged one landing and ended up here:I bet he couldn’t do that again if he tried! Luckily there was no damage, and the plane was ok as well.
Bob has now fitted a pair of new motors to his EasyTwin. The model flew well with the original motors but one of them made some fairly horrible noises at particular throttle settings and Bob could never be sure it wouldn’t suddenly seize up, especially bad news on a twin. So he’s splashed out on a couple of Tornado Thumpers from Overlander. I asked him for some comprehensive details of the new set-up and this is what he sent me:I just can’t get the staff… Oh, he did say “10 minute flights”. It can be seen flying with my BushMule in the video.
A couple of months ago Dougal sent me some photos of his venerable Fun 3 model. It’s now 40 years old having been originally built it in 1980 although the fuselage was rebuilt 4 years later following an ‘incident’!It’s been successfully flown with a variety of power sources, the first being a Meteor 40 with a tuned pipe (I bet that was noisy) and now of course an electric set-up which Dougal says makes it go better than ever.It is still using the original Skyleader servos which look rather out of place next to the tiny 2.4GHz Devention receiver, how things have changed in 40 years. But also notice the wing bolt plate that is looking very dodgy, I think that might have seen the end of the model had it not been spotted!
Last month I showed you a couple a photos of Woody’s almost completed Hunter that he’s built from the Tony Nijhuis plan. It’s now finished and I’ve had a few attempts at getting it flying but so far without success.The model looks nice but I wonder if it’s overweight as it just won’t go away from a hand launch. After several unsuccessful but undamaged attempts Woody is going to check the weight and measure the thrust to see if they are what the plan says they should be. It has the same fan and motor as my Raptor but feels about twice the weight although to be fair the Hunter uses a 2200mAh lipo and the Raptor only a 1500. We’ll see what the scales tell us.
Norwegian Nick brought his almost completed Sabre along to the field to show us one day. Like Woody’s Hunter the Sabre was built from a Tony Nijhuis plan and is using the same FMS fan but with a 4 cell rated motor. In theory that means it should have around a third more thrust so it ought to have plenty of power.The model is built to Nick’s usual high standard and is very nearly ready to be test flown. Personally I have to say that I have some doubts about the pilot, I’m not sure he can be relied on, he looks completely legless…
Several months ago, in the heady pre-lockdown days, I featured a Multiplex Stunt Master that Chas Butler had picked up for a good price at the LMA Much Markle show last year. The Stunt Master is made from Elapor (the Multiplex version of EPO foam) with carbon fibre reinforcements, has a wingspan of 870mm and weighs just 350g. The ready fitted hardware consists of a Permax 2206 1050kv outrunner, a 20A esc and three 8g servos. The prop is secured by a rubber O-ring so any unscheduled arrivals won’t damage the motor shaft, not that Chas will have any unscheduled arrivals. Both ailerons are operated by one servo mounted centrally in the fuselage above the wing, an arrangement that is pretty unusual on outdoor models these days but maybe it’s more common on indoor ones. Due to winter, windy weather, the lockdown etc Chas hadn’t got round to flying his new toy but towards the end of June the weather seemed perfect for its first flight. Despite being the hottest day of the year so far the conditions weren’t actually ideal as there was a reasonable breeze blowing from the east which always means turbulence from the trees. But the first flight went very well and even subsequent flights in the increasing wind were fine.Chas was delighted with the model and it certainly looked good in the air. The flights I watched were with the rates in the ‘standard’ setting, wait until he tries ‘3D’ setting! You can see some of the maiden flight in this month’s video.
Towards the end of June both Captain Slow and I started flying FPV again. We both had some successful flights without any problems but then Captain Slow decided to fly his SkyHunter normally, ie. not using goggles. It was flying fine although the turbulence off the trees but getting worse as the morning wore on, especially low down. I was trying to get some flying shots of the model so asked him to do a low pass…big mistake, entirely my fault. It’s a shame I was taking stills rather than video but you get the idea, the pass was a bit too low for the conditions. Fortunately there was no damage other than a cracked joint in the nose and a big dent in Captain Slow’s pride!
Dwayne Pipe sent through a couple of photos showing how he’s progressing with his Folland Gnat. It’s a totally scratch built model, Dwayne has drawn up his own plans, scaling everything up from an Airfix kit.He began by producing a kit of parts and now has the wings almost done, I assume there will be a carbon joiner.Dwayne is going to fit a 12 bladed fan from Banggood which he’s tested on an 8 cell lipo and gives around 1.5kg of thrust so in his words the performance should be ‘lively’! Dwayne is building up quite a bit of experience with EDF set-ups, his scratch built TSR2 goes very well as you can see in this month’s video.
Catapult King has now repaired his own design Yellow Tail following an early flight ‘incident’ when he discovered that models with very thin tapered wings are prone tip stalling, something that’s all part of the learning curve I’m afraid.He based it on 1066’s Pichler HiSpeed, taking the basic sizes and then modifying them to his own requirements.This time out Catapult kept the speed up and the Yellow Tail performed well with no problems.Catapult also flew his Bug, a model he built from the Flite Test plan, which is constructed almost entirely from Depron so is very light. The day was rather breezy so hardly ideal Bug conditions but it just about coped.
The weather has been quite amazing for the last couple of months but it became cooler and windier at the end of June. On Sunday 28th Dougal Entendre, 1066, and Bob the Builder had booked a slot and they all flew despite the strong wind. Here is Dougal’s report on the morning: When Steve and I met up, we decided to go in the lower field as we both had hand-launchable models and didn’t fancy dealing with the cattle. I flew the Sportjet and the Blizzard, and Steve flew his Mirus. The wind was strong but not too bad. Then we saw Bob going in the gate of the upper field, so I went over to tell him where we were. Steve went back to the car to get his hotliner out as there seemed to be lift about. Bob flew his Walrus and made the most of the lift which we found over the bottom of the field.The wind was coming up from the south-west, so some of it may have been slope lift, but there were strong and bumpy thermals coming through too. On my second Blizzard flight it started to rain quite heavily, so Steve and I landed, and Bob left at that point. The rain soon stopped though, and I still had 87% in the Blizzard battery, so we flew again. I must have spent fifteen minutes or so working bumpy thermals, and Steve did the same with his hotliner. I landed with 55% still left in the battery! So all in all a surprisingly enjoyable morning, and we were glad we made the effort! Thanks Dougal, sounds fun, sometimes the more challenging days turn out to be really good.
Video time now, and this time includes contributions from me, Captain Slow 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
Do you think invisible aeroplanes will ever be a thing?
I just can’t see them taking off…