Patch News – March 2020

Patch News – March 2020

This is going to be a really tough Patch News to write. I have, perhaps surprisingly, loads of information and photos but the terrible state of the world being ravaged by Covid-19 has now brought everything to a screeching halt and the next few months look like being very bleak indeed. Obviously all club meetings have been cancelled for the foreseeable future and no flying is allowed either. The PAM Flying Group on WhatsApp has seen quite a lot of use recently including the obligatory ‘jokes’. The group is a great way of keeping in touch while we are isolating and should help keep us sane. Doreen and I returned from Marrakech three weeks ago so have been self-isolating pretty much since then and I have to admit that I’m already finding it a bit of a struggle mentally, hopefully contact via WhatsApp will help us all through. If you aren’t a group member and would like to be added just let me know.

We are lucky that (as of 24th March when I started writing this) Captain Slow is willing and able to visit the field every couple of weeks and swap the battery as part of his allowed daily exercise. But things are changing very rapidly and even that may not be possible soon. Obviously we’ll be unable to mow the patch so some work will be required when this is all over. This was the last session before lockdown, Woody and Capt Slow social distancing.The bullocks returned to the field on 18th March having spent the winter in the lower field. Usually they are only in the field for about a month before they get moved on and don’t return for another couple of months. So if we are very lucky and are able to fly again in three months we’ll probably have their company again but right now that’s the least of our worries. The last day I personally flew it was ridiculously windy so just Dougal Entendre and I turned up.This edition will be published on 1st April and I would normally attempt to hide an April Fool piece somewhere within it but this year it just doesn’t feel right. So here’s the photo that I was planning to use along with a caption along the lines of ‘1066 got a bit too low on one of his many knife-edge passes right across the field’. Of course the truth is that he simply put the Edge down when he needed two hands to open the gate but that’s much more boring!

A couple of months ago I featured Dougal Entendre’s Snub Nose Skyfun, the snub nose being the result of bit of FPV trouble with a cloud. In January Dougal had added an HD camera to the flat front and was test flying it without the FPV gear but he’s now added an FPV camera alongside the HD one and has installed a new toy, a flight controller.The controller can relay lots of live information from the plane back to the pilot where it is displayed on the goggles. The information can be tailored to suit the pilot’s requirements but can display things such as artificial horizon, altitude, height, distance from pilot, current draw, battery voltage and a whole lot more besides.One of the most useful things for Dougal is the display of an arrow that always points back towards the pilot, so should he ever lose his way (and the spotter loses sight of the model) he will always know which way is home. Oddly at the moment he doesn’t seem to have got that part working, I know setting up the flight controller tested his wiring and computing skills to the limit and he’s almost, but not quite, got it sorted. Just as soon as he’s figured out how to get everything working correctly I shall steal the information and fit a flight controller to my own FPV model! In this months’ video I have included some of the FPV camera video interspersed with the HD camera video so you can see the quality difference between the cameras and also the OSD (On Screen Display).

During Dougal’s first flight he did a low pass in front of the pilot line (just showing off really) and it was perhaps a little lower and a little closer to the pilots than he intended. But what he had forgotten was that although we had taken the fence down we had left the post nearest to the pilots up, after all nobody would fly that close so it wouldn’t be a problem would it? Well it very nearly was a problem for Dougal as this video screenshot shows.Yes, that really is a genuine onboard shot, he couldn’t have got much closer without hitting it!

Dwayne Pipe has done some repair work to his Acro-Wot following a bit of a mishap. If I remember correctly he wasn’t certain if the crash was caused by pilot error or a problem with the radio, he’d had a few odd unexplained things happen during the previous weeks but it’s sometimes difficult to tell. He’s made a nice job of the repairs and being in need of a replacement canopy he recycled an old squash bottle which I think looks rather good.Acro-Wot aficionados will notice Dwayne has extended the nose a little in order to make achieving the correct centre of gravity easier, I think he did that before the latest repairs. So, how did the test flight go? Not well I’m afraid.At least Dwayne has now answered the radio problem or pilot error question, it was the radio! Fortunately Dwayne is a master of repairs and the damage doesn’t look too bad so I expect the Acro-Wot will re-emerge once we are able to start flying again. Meanwhile Dwayne is on the lookout for a new set of radio from a different manufacturer and I was surprised he didn’t snatch Niki’s hand off when he offered a Futaba set for sale. That one was grabbed by Iven I believe. Maybe Dwayne has already bought something, let me know Dwayne and I’ll keep everyone up to date.

Back to Dougal now as he’s splashed the cash on a Multiplex Blizzard electric mini hotliner. Not much cash though as it was a second hand one that he spotted being sold by a Portsmouth seller on eBay. He won the auction but when he popped down to collect it the model wasn’t up to the standard he’d expected from the advert. The fuselage had been broken in half just behind the wing and repaired fairly averagely. The seller said he’d forgotten about that!After some price renegotiation Dougal came away pleased with his purchase. Apparently the seller told Dougal that it had loads of power and was quite fast but when he flew it Dougal found it barely had enough power to fly and certainly wasn’t fast. But the Blizzard had been fitted with an eight inch prop which seemed rather small and the motor wasn’t pulling much current so Dougal swapped to a ten inch prop which transformed it.He could probably still go to a bigger diameter or higher pitch if he wants some more speed but it’s now a good performer anyway. You can see some of the flight with the larger prop fitted in this month’s video.

OK, it’s competition time now. Usually I would offer a humungous prize for a comp winner but as I don’t have anything to hand, can’t shop, and won’t see the winner for months anyway this one is just for a gold star! During our flight from Gatwick to Marrakech I took a photo of a part of England that I immediately recognised. The gold star goes to the first person that names the three S’s in the photo. No you idiots, not Sun, Sea, and Sky!Click on the photo to enlarge it, it’s much clearer then. Just put your guesses in the Comments section.

With no flying allowed for now we’re seeing an increase in the number of new models being built and that’s what I’ll have to concentrate on for the next few editions. Those of you in the WhatsApp group will have seen some of them already but I will give you more information about them. First up this month is Niki Weatherley’s lovely Extra 300.When I first saw the photos of it in the garden I didn’t realise how big it was, it has a wingspan of 85” (2160mm). It’s made by Extreme Flight and is designed specifically for either 50cc petrol engines or equivalent electric motors. This is from the Extreme Flight website: Precise, agile and aggressive yet super stable and light on the wing, the 85″ Extra excels in all modern aerobatic flight regimes. With reduced control surface throws the Extra is a big pussycat and makes a great sport flyer. Crank up the rates and prepare to be amazed by the truly unlimited potential of this airframe! The 85″ Extra 300 EXP is loaded with features including advanced use of composites for a super strong, rigid, yet light weight airframe, carbon fiber wing spars, main gear, tailwheel assembly, wing and stab tubes. It features a 2 piece removable stab with internally mounted elevator servos. The Extra is available in 2 high visibility Oracover color schemes with high contrast bottom colors and a pro quality hardware package including genuine Dubro ball links. Elevators and ailerons are pre-hinged and hinge lines are sealed with Oracover, facilitating a quick assembly. Experienced modelers should be able to finish assembly in a couple evenings of relaxed shop time.

Personally I’d be chicken and would be going for the reduced throw, big pussycat, sports flying but somehow I don’t think that’s what Niki will be doing! He has of course gone for the electric option and having initially ordered a 60cc (electric equivalent) set-up he’s now decided that was overkill and has settled on a 40cc 200Kv Xpwr motor, 120A HV Castle Creations speed controller and a 12 cell lipo. The lipo consists of two 6 cell packs of 4000 to 5000mAh with a 65C rating which are connected in series. That’s the same powertrain as Matt uses in his 81” Velox.Niki is using a Futaba 7008SB receiver and Savox HV-1270TG servos all round, just one of which costs more than some of my planes! Niki will be using telemetry to keep an eye on current draw, temperatures etc. which seems like a very wise move to those of us who witnessed the speed controller in Matt’s Velox catch fire mid-flight.The excellent graphics on the Extra that you can see in the first two photos came from B&E Graphix in the States. All in all that’s a very impressive plane Niki, I look forward to seeing it fly before too long.

Bob the Builder has been idling away his isolating time by pimping up his Sukhoi SU-27 with lots and lots of LEDs. Bob is intending to try night flying when he can find a suitable time and place. Woody will be so jealous!

Next is a Tony Nijhuis Sabre with a span and fuselage length of 25 ½” (650mm) that Norwegian Nick is building. Nick says the all up weight should be about 16 ounces (450gm) but his might be slightly over that because instead of the intended 3 cell set-up he’s fitted a 4Max 50mm fan which will use a 4 cell 1800mAh lipo and a 40A esc. The Sabre is of all balsa construction which Nick has covered with tissue and it will be airbrushed with acrylic paints. He’s run the motor and says it sounds superb, the fan has been aerodynamically balanced so there’s no vibration. I know Woody has a similarly sized Tony Nijhuis Hunter under construction and he is using the recommended 3 cell set-up so it will be interesting to compare the performance of the two. It would be nice to see them flying together.

Speaking of Woody, I took this shot of his Sukhoi SU-57 flying early this month. It’s nothing like the standard of Kryton’s photos of course but not too bad for a mobile phone and I like it. Click on the photo to enlarge it.As well as his Lysander Chas Butler is spending his isolation time working on a 104” (2640mm) span Jamara Discus CS that he’s had for several years. As a glider it weighs about 1.2kg but he’s now considering electrifying it.He’s planning to use a 1070Kv motor with a 12×6 folding prop, a 60A speed controller and a 3s 2200mAh lipo. Sounds good to me, should go well Chas. The problem that he has at the moment is that the damp has got under the gel coat on the fuselage and made it bubble so he’s got some rubbing down and spraying to do first.

STOP PRESS: He’s done it!Chas photographed the original decals on the fuselage before rubbing it down and then used Photoshop to reproduce them on waterslide paper. I assume he used Photoshop to make the rather nice photo collages he sent as well.Next he bit the bullet, sawed the nose off the fuselage and mounted the motor onto a plywood ring that he then epoxied into the nose. He’s now test run the motor and the power seems fine. That’s all very neat, good job Chas.

Video time now and of course this will be the last video for a while unless I am able to find some old footage to cobble together. 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

What’s the difference between politicians and flying pigs?
The letter F…

Stay safe
Colin Cowplain

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

Patch News – January 2020

January turned out to be an interesting start to the new decade, unfortunately not for all the right reasons. It started well with reasonable weather and a good turnout on New Year’s Day but when the Midweekers went to fly on 8th Jan we discovered the bullocks had returned to the field and managed to trash the fence and the patch. We think something must have spooked them as the fence was switched on but they had completely destroyed it, broken many of the posts, ripped all the wires apart, and even torn the roofing felt off the box lid. The patch looked like a battlefield, all the months of hard work had been undone is a very short space of time. While Captain Slow kept the bullocks at bay Woody and I managed to sort out some undamaged posts and using the spare reel of wire we were able to get a fence of sorts working again. On Friday the 10th we had an excellent turnout of helpers to work on the patch, lifting, stamping, and rolling until it was at least usable again. Lots of members have continued with the restoration and it’s not too bad now although nothing like as good as before. 1066 ordered some new equipment, metal posts, insulators, stronger wire etc. and we now have a fence that is hopefully better than before. I expect once it’s dried out a bit we’ll start to mow the patch and all being well by springtime it should be pretty good again. But we mustn’t be too disheartened, it’s perfectly useable at the moment for almost all models. Other than damage to the patch January was fairly normal with lots of wind and rain but despite that some new models were flown on the nicer days.

First up, test flown by me on 1st January is Chris P Bacon’s new Ripmax Wots Wot Foam-E. It’s another model designed by Chris Foss of course. I think this photo must have been after the first flight, Chris P is actually smiling… Chris P previously owned the much larger 1280mm (50”) span wooden Wots Wot ARTF which used a 5 cell lipo and weighed around 7lbs but it met its demise a few months ago. I had flown that one a few times and never felt comfortable with it, not quite sure why, it just didn’t inspire confidence. Oddly the adverts for it say “The new Wots Wot biplane is the latest model in the growing range of Chris Foss designed ARTF aircraft, and has (by general agreement) the best flying characteristics of them all!” so maybe it was just me. But I found Chris P’s new little Foam-E version to be totally different, it felt right as soon as it took off and I immediately felt at home with it.The Foam-E is just 1000mm (39.37”) span and weighs only 2.6lbs so it’s 78% of the size of the larger one but only 52% of the weight, I wonder if that explains why it felt nicer. Chris P bought this one from Sussex Model Centre and it came complete with a 920kv outrunner motor, a 40A esc, a 12×6 prop, and four 9g servos. He is using 3 cell 2200mAh lipos from HobbyKing and says that Ripmax have finally sorted out a decent battery compartment and hatch. I wonder if they’ve beefed up the undercarriage mounting as well…time will tell. You can watch some of that first flight in this month’s video where you’ll see that I was enjoying flying it.

Also flown on 1st January was Dougal’s Snub Nosed Skyfun. He’s flown it before and last month I explained why it’s got a snub nose but now he has fitted an HD camera to that flat front. The camera was a Christmas present  and it came complete with a waterproof housing which seemed sensible for landing on a damp and mucky patch.Dougal is planning to add FPV equipment with on screen display of altitude, heading, distance, and an arrow pointing back to the launch point so having a separate camera to record the flight in High Definition without all the screen information showing is a good idea. I’ve included some of the footage in this month’s video.

In Patch News a couple of months ago I included some photos of Page Boy’s Slec Funfly under construction and this month he sent me a photo of the model now that’s he covered it. He’s just got to add some trim and then fit the electrics so it shouldn’t be too long before we see it flying.It certainly looks nice and should be a good flyer, it has got an excellent pedigree.

We haven’t seen much of Cream Egg for a while, he keeps making excuses about work and decorating chores but we know it’s really because he’s always away on holidays. Last time he flew he broke his Hobbyking Voltigeur so he’s scouring the internet for a suitable replacement. Finally after months of deliberation he bought…another Voltigeur! And why not, he really liked the first Voltigeur and it really suited his needs so another one was the obvious replacement. The Voltigeur is designed for 3 cells but when he had his first one Cream Egg discovered that his 3 cell packs were past their best so he switched to some 4 cell ones he had spare. I assume he’s also using the 4 cell packs on this new one, it seemed to have loads of power. Don’t break this one, Cream Egg, look after it!

Captain Slow (the new PAM Chairman, please stand) spent Christmas visiting one of his sons who lives in New York and on his travels around the area took the opportunity to look for some local model clubs. He only found one where somebody was flying but took some photos for us to see.

The club is called Blue & Gray and has a good set up with a clubhouse and some outside work benches and so on.

The guy that Captain Slow met flew a 60” span CAP 232. Looking at the specs it’s a very high quality foamie that runs on either 5 or 6 cells. He also had a very nice looking EDF F-4 Phantom but didn’t fly it that day.

Captain Slow also sent me some photos of something he bought while serving in Germany back in the nineties. Like most of us he has an old box in which he keeps long scraps of balsa and other bits and pieces and he’s just realised it once contained a Robbe Varta-Fly. You can see the specs in the photos but basically it was an early electric glider that used a brushed motor and NiCad batteries. Ooh I can smell the nostalgia…!

Chas Butler has now finished and flown his Limbo Dancer that I featured naked last month (the plane was naked not me, don’t get excited). He’s fitted it with a 900kv Pelikan 3548/05 outrunner fitted with a 13×7 prop fed via a 70A speed controller. It’s ended up weighing in at 3lbs 8.5oz with a 2900mAh lipo which means the wing loading is just 12oz/sq.ft.  Chas has been talking about trying it on 4 cells with an 11×8 prop but so far has only used 3 cell pack. It certainly had enough power when I filmed the first flight. On that flight he found he had too much elevator movement and not enough aileron so he made some adjustments before the second flight and it was much better. I think it will prove to be an excellent ‘all round’ sport model, the only thing I don’t like is the need to remove the wing to swap out the battery pack. Chas says there’s not an easy way round it as the fuselage is very tight for space. Just to prove me wrong, next time I saw Chas with the Limbo Dancer he’d managed to add a small hatch to the underside of the fuselage through which he was changing the batteries!He said it’s a bit fiddly and needs a bit of refining but it’s easier than removing the wing each time.

On 3rd February last year lots of us flew in the snow at our field and I was able to fly my Bush Mule on skis, great fun. But the snow also found some pilots struggling with a lack of power due to cold batteries and cold hands despite using transmitter muffs. So I ordered myself a heater for my transmitter muff, the idea being to pre-heat my batteries before flight and then keep my hands warm during the flight. Needless to say the weather warmed up before I had a chance to test it so it wasn’t until this month that I’ve actually used it in anger. The heater unit consists of an adjustable temperature controller connected to a pair of pads containing heater elements and the power is supplied by a 2 or 3 cell lipo. Having found the controller to be very sensitive I rewired the pads in series rather than parallel as it could get dangerously hot running it on 3 cells but would probably be fine on 2 cells. I fitted the system into my Turnigy muff with strips of Velcro so it’s easy to remove when not required.I haven’t really tried pre-heating the lipos in it yet but I used it to keep my hands warm several times in January and found it work well. For most of the year it’s really not necessary but for the really cold weather it’s a definite bonus. For a cost of around £13 I think it’s very good, the only snag being that HobbyKing don’t have any in stock.

Kryten send me a few of the excellent photos that he was able to take in January and I also have also included a couple I had left over from last month for you to enjoy. Thank you as always Kryten.

Video time now and this month some of the video and photos come from Captain Slow, Bob the Builder, Dwayne Pipe, 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

When I got home from flying the other day I saw that my wife left a note on the fridge.
“It’s not working, I can’t take it anymore! Gone to stay at my mothers.”
I opened the fridge, the light came on and the beer was cold.
It’s working perfectly, not sure what she was talking about…

Colin Cowplain

Patch News – December 2019

Happy New Year to you all, I hope you all had a great Christmas and aren’t reading this with a New Year’s Eve hangover! Did anybody receive any modelling goodies for Christmas? If you did please let me know so I can share it with others. Personally I was given a very nice Help for Heroes Vulcan t-shirt and a ‘Gift in a Tin’ fighter plane. Sadly, as it’s of a Meccano type construction I don’t hold out too much hope for its’ flying characteristics. I know that Angie treated Dougal Entendre to a 4K ‘action cam’ for Christmas and he’ll soon be mounting it on a model alongside an FPV camera so we should be able to see some high quality in air footage.

This Patch News will be a little shorter than usual, partly because I was away for much of the month and partly because December saw some awful weather. Bob the Builder snapped this photo of Woody feeling the cold one day!The bullocks came and went a couple of times during December but the fence has done its’ job so the patch has remained in great condition. Unfortunately the field is very muddy down by the gate and the track and parking areas have also become very mucky with all the wet weather. But November had ended beautifully and Friday 29th November saw an event that occurred too late to be included in the November Patch News.The weather that day was glorious and in the morning I received a WhatsApp message from Iven asking if we would be flying in the afternoon. He said he’d flown in the morning and had managed a perfect spot landing and had left proof on the patch for us. When we arrived in the afternoon we found a pink box in the centre of the patch covered with a piece of wood weighed down by a brick, very odd. When we looked inside this is what we found.It turned out to be Ian’s 60th (yes I know he only looks 40, that’s because we’re old) and he had left us some cakes, brilliant idea, thanks Ian. As the weather was great there was a good turnout and the cakes went down a treat.

Last month I featured several models under construction one of which was Bob the Builder’s version of a Ghost Rider 50. Dougal has been flying an electrified Ghost Rider 50 for several years and Bob decided to build his own version. It’s now flown and, as you will see in the video, Dougal did the test flight but soon handed the transmitter to Bob. Bob calls it EGhost and says this: Based on a Ghost Rider 50 like Mark’s. I wanted something one step up from a Splot. Stable in windy conditions, big and colourful enough to see at distance, tricycle undercarriage for easier touch and go’s, good for inverted flight, plenty of power to get out of trouble, easy and cheap to build & repair, easy battery changes and will fly on a range of 3 or 4 cell batteries 2200-4000mAh. Very pleased with it so far.Bob was good enough to let me have a flight and I must say it’s a very good all round sports model, it will do all the aerobatics you want but has good flying characteristics with no nasty handling problems, a winner for sure.

Chas sent me a couple of photos of a Limbo Dancer that he’s built and in November he was just starting the covering so I expect it will be flying very soon. Chas has fitted a Pelikan 900Kv motor which spins an 11×8 propeller. The speed controller is 70A and he intends to use a 4 cell lipo battery initially. Depending on how it performs he might change to a 3 cell pack and a 13×7 prop. The radio gear is JR and he’s fitted Hitec servos. I look forward to seeing it fly, in its’ day the Limbo Dancer was one of the top fun-fly machines.

One new model that has been built and eventually flew right at the end of December is this little cracker from Catapult King. He really liked the look of 1066’s Pichler HiSpeed so Catapult took a few photos and some of the Pichler’s vital statistics and came up with a model that he’s named Yellow Tail. This is what he says about it: When talking to Steve he mentioned it would be better if it were a little bigger so the wing span is 1.2m, the fuse is based on my Sunbird. It’s the first time I have attempted a ‘skinny wing’ so I can only hope it holds up. I was going for a 4s battery but will probably use a 3s to start with. The motor is a Turnigy 2836 950kv motor and 40A ESC. The prop will start as a 9×5 but may go up to a 10×6 depending on how things go, after all this is supposed to be fast. Just need to glue the hinges in and add the control horns and I’m ready to go.Well Catapult has now finished the model and it certainly looks fast so how did it fly? 1066 has been rather disappointed with the relative lack of speed with his Pichler on 3 cells and is threatening to switch to 4 cells. I’m not saying that Catapult was rather apprehensive about the first flight but he did bring along a change of trousers!Catapult chose to use 3 cells for the first flight and asked Dougal to do the honours. It was a fairly breezy morning but the Yellow Tail went away well and after a little trimming it flew fine although, like the Pichler, it wasn’t as fast as expected. After a few minutes of getting used to it Dougal landed the model with no problems.After a few adjustments the model went away from launch perfectly for the next flight and Dougal soon passed the transmitter over to Catapult. It was fine for the first couple of minutes but then Catapult did a gliding downwind pass and got bitten when the Yellow Tail suddenly tip-stalled and spun in.The very thin wing and sharp leading edge means the Yellow Tail needs speed to stop it tip-stalling. Fortunately the damage wasn’t too bad and the model will be repaired. I took some video of the flights, I’ll include it next month.

Page Boy has bought himself a second E-Flite Harvard after damaging the undercarriage of the first one with a heavy landing. The damage wasn’t bad but he says he cheered himself up by buying a new one, what it is to have money! On a forum one day he spotted a German guy who had produced a 3D printed radial engine for the Harvard so he asked how much they cost. Back came the reply ‘Give me your address and I’ll send you one, no charge’. Page Boy thought he was joking but shortly afterwards it turned up. What an excellent chap!

You might remember that in last month’s Patch News I showed Dougal Entendre’s badly damaged Skyfun which was the result of getting lost after flying into cloud where the spotter couldn’t see it. Having examined the wreckage and declared it a write-off Dougal has since had second thoughts and come up with this, a Snub Nosed Skyfun. It flies much the same as before but unsurprisingly has lost a little directional stability with the flat front.At the moment Dougal is only flying it in normal RC mode but the plan is to fit his new 4K video camera on the front and then re-fit the FPV gear but with a drone controller for extra functions such as RTH (return to home).The snub nose means Dougal can do “Aargh, I’ve been speared” impressions!

One of the tractors that brings the manure to the large pile by the barn got a flat one day and was stranded while waiting for some help. Dougal had his car 12v tyre pump with him but decided it may not be quite up to the job!Shaun the farm worker later explained that the tyre must have been low on pressure and it rolled off the rim. There was quite a tale of involving various other farm vehicles etc. and it took about 4 hours for them to get it sorted.

As I explained earlier I’m a little short of material this month but fortunately Kryten has come up trumps with lots of his excellent photos. First up is this “Who can’t land a Wot-4 properly?” moment!Oh yes, that’ll be Chas then!The rest are all self explanatory:

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

Cessna: “Southampton tower, Cessna Alpha Lima, student pilot, I am out of fuel.”
Tower: “Roger Cessna Alpha Lima, reduce airspeed to best glide!! Do you have the airfield in sight?!?!!”
Cessna: “Uh … tower, I am on the south ramp; I just want to know where the fuel truck is….”

Colin Cowplain

Patch News – November 2019

The November weather was pretty much as we would expect with quite a few wet and windy days interspersed with some reasonable flying days. Lots of us managed to fly several times during the month, mostly the ‘midweekers’ of course who were able to pick the best of the weather. The patch is in excellent condition and has now all but stopped growing so the Farts didn’t need to mow much at all this month. When we arrived at the field on the last Sunday in November we were surprised to find very murky conditions. We quickly tracked down the cause of the problem…But he’s been forgiven as Captain Slow has kept up his much appreciated fortnightly battery charging and swapping service, something that has renewed importance as the herd of ‘new’ bullocks arrived towards the end of the month.They’ve already been testing the fence but will hopefully soon learn that it’s best to ignore it. I wonder what number bullock Captain Slow will befriend this time, perhaps we should start a book…the winner gets a joint of beef!

There weren’t too many new models flown in November but there was quite a lot of action to report on anyway. The first new model I’ll show you is an indoor one designed and built by Dwayne Pipe. I though Dwayne Pipes were only found outside…? I spotted it at the Havant indoor flying session that’s run by Waltham Chase Aero Modellers.Dwayne has scaled down the foamboard Sukhoi SU-27 that so many of us are flying at the patch. It has a wingspan of just 15” (380mm) and is made from 2mm thick Depron. The speed controller and Spektrum compatible receiver are combined in a one piece unit that came from Banggood and Dwayne is using a pair of 2g HobbyKing servos to control the elevons. At the moment the motor is an 8.5mm diameter inrunner drone motor that swings a 6” prop.Unfortunately, as you will see in this month’s video, it’s rather underpowered at the moment and can’t manage much more than a circuit before the motor overheats and the plane lands. To overcome this Dwayne is planning to fit a Microaces motor that is designed for aircraft rather than drones which should fit the bill nicely. The Sukhoi is remarkably stable and flies very slowly so with more power it should be a great indoor flier, well done Dwayne.

Chas Butler is also putting together an indoor model, a Clik R2 SuperLITE that’s constructed from EPP and carbon fibre. It has a wingspan of 840mm (33”) and an AUW of 130g. The motor is a 1620kv unit that swings a 9×2.5 carbon fibre prop and is fed by a 10A speed controller. It has one 6g servo and two 4.5g servos, presumably the 6g one drives both ailerons and the 4.5g ones are for rudder and elevator. The battery is a tiny 2 cell 280mAh lipo.Chas says he hasn’t decided what receiver to use yet but has found this one which seems a likely candidate.It weighs just 2.4g and for comparison the 20p piece weighs 5g! This is how a completed Clik R2 SuperLITE looks.

The month saw some ‘interesting’ FPV moments. The first one was when I was flying my Ranger 1600 FPV one day and spotter Captain Slow suggested I flew further to the south west than previously. But as I got to a reasonable distance (but well within spotter sight) I suddenly lost the radio link although the FPV was working perfectly. The model came down, fortunately with minimal damage, and everything seemed to be working correctly. But back at the patch the radio was dead and I found that the lead from the esc had become unplugged from the receiver. I knew it wasn’t a result of the crash as it has been working before and I couldn’t see why it would have come out on the walk back so I decided it must have been loose while I was flying and was making/losing connection causing the crash. I put it all back together and found nothing else wrong. Next time out I did a careful low power range check and got almost double the stated range with no problems. So I flew it again and all seemed fine for two flights. But on the third flight I flew back to the area where I’d lost control and it promptly happened again! The model came down relatively unscathed within a few yards of the previous crash and again everything was working perfectly, and all the connections were still sound. It seemed likely that the radio was short on range and the crashes were in the same location because that was the furthest I’d gone each time. I checked the location on Google Maps and found the distance was only about 400 metres so it should have easily have been within range.The next morning I rang Mike Ridley, the Multiplex service agent. Mike lives in Sholing so is very handy for PAM members and he’ll service virtually all RC gear except Spektrum. Don’t blame me, I’m just repeating what he said! Within minutes of arriving Mike had found the problem. A while ago I had found a split in the receiver aerial insulation where it exits the case and I’d covered it a piece of heat-shrink tubing. But Mike found that the coax shielding underneath the insulation was also damaged. It’s only the bare 30mm or so of wire at the end of the aerial that does anything, the rest of the aerial is shielded and if the shielding gets damaged it affects the range. I told Mike I’d done a low power range check and he explained that it doesn’t necessarily show up a problem. He fitted a new aerial and did some tests to ensure the receiver was back to normal. He also checked that the transmitter power output was correct. I’ve since flown the Ranger several times to extreme range and had no problems at all so I’m happy again. While I was with Mike I bought a new transmitter aerial for Woody as he’d broken the hinge pin on his. Oh, and the cost?  The grand total of £15. Mike also gave me a 2.4GHz Radio Use & Installation Help Sheet that I’ve added to the News section of the website. I thoroughly recommend Mike Ridley, Model Radio Workshop. 

The other FPV incident happened to Dougal Entendre. Last month I reported that his Skyfun propeller had thrown a blade and the vibration tore the motor out, breaking the motor mount and taking the top off one of the fins as it went. This month the Skyfun returned with a new motor mount and repaired fin and was soon flying as well as ever. But not for long. If you were at the club meeting on 28th November you’ll have heard the tale, seen the video, got the T-shirt etc. so I won’t go into detail here, suffice to say Dougal inadvertently flew into some thick cloud and, lacking X-ray vision, the spotter (me) couldn’t see the model. Dougal throttled back but I didn’t see it emerge from the cloud and although Dougal had a nice clear picture of the ground on his goggles he didn’t know where he was. Several of us scanned the sky for the model but we couldn’t spot it. Eventually the Skyfun ran out of battery and came down. By comparing Google Maps with the video of the flight that was recorded in his goggles Dougal figured out the location and retrieved the model. All the electronics seem to have survived but sadly the airframe didn’t. In this month’s video you will see some of the cloud Dougal found but also some nice fluffy bits that I played with.

Meanwhile Captain Slow has been flying his FPV Skyhunter and getting used to flying with goggles. He prefers to remain seated while flying as he’s less likely to lose his balance. It is fairly easy to lose balance while flying although I’ve found you gradually get used to it and I rarely have a problem now. Landing can be a bit tricky to get right with FPV as judging the height isn’t easy but on one of his flights Captain Slow managed to land right on the spot.Obviously more luck than judgement but I suppose I must give him credit where it’s due. At least he didn’t run off the patch into a hole as Dougal did when I let him have a go at landing my Ranger while he was flying it FPV! You can just about see the slightly crumpled nose that was the result of my earlier receiver problem, not Dougal.Dougal and I had swapped goggles to compare my cheap Quanum box goggles with his expensive Aomways. Dougal was happy with the quality of mine but found then big and cumbersome. Can’t say I’m surprised, he shouldn’t have tied a windsock to the front of them, it’s not as if he could even see it while he was wearing the goggles!On the plus side at least he couldn’t see Captain Slow camping it up in the background either!

Woody has built himself another foamboard Mig-29. This one came in a different colour scheme to all the others and I must say I think it looks rather nice. As is usual for Woody he’s got lights all over it, not sure how many but it’s a lot, about eleven I think. They are very bright and show up quite well especially on gloomy November days.Woody fitted it with a 7” prop rather than the normally used 6” in the hope of keeping the noise down but it doesn’t seem to have worked. He’s opened up the prop slot since I took this photo and that has reduced the noise a lot.It flies much like all the others and certainly has plenty of thrust. You can see it in action in this month’s video. Want one? The version with the new colour scheme is currently in stock in the HobbyKing UK warehouse for around £17.

Chas has had a bit of a clear out and on 17th November he took a car load of stuff to the Southern Counties Autumn Swapmeet at Mountbatten School Romsey. Wow, he’s certainly packed a lot of stuff in there!Chas reports that he couldn’t get the stuff out of the car quick enough for the buyers and the prices were very good. A seller’s table cost £9 for the morning including admission and admission for buyers was £4. That’s definitely a swap meet to bear in mind for anyone who has some modelling stuff to move on. They also held one in March this year so presumably there will be another in March 2020.

John Warren has joined the foamboard fun with a Sukhoi SU-27. I’m afraid I don’t have any photos to show you, I’m sure I took some of John with his Sukhoi but I can’t find them now, I must have inadvertently deleted them. Not to worry, you can see in this month’s video that the test flight went well. But I do have a photo of his Jocasta. John has now added his ‘corporate colours’ of white trim to the previously all red model and very smart it looks too.He had a bit of a moment with the Jocasta this month, while he was flying he had to call for help when it started to fly erratically. Dougal took over and at first all seemed well but then suddenly the Jocasta did its own thing again. He managed to regain control and land safely back on the patch where the cause was investigated.I’ve seen unpinned hinges that have come out but John had pinned this one only to have it break on the hinge line.

The winter building season is upon us and although there was a lack of new models at the patch this month there are plenty of models being built. All the ones I’ve seen so far have been ‘proper’ built-up wood models. The members of the PAM WhatsApp group will have already seen some of them, please send any photos for publication to me personally rather than the whole group. First up is Page Boy’s 1370mm (54”) wingspan Slec Funfly.Slec produce the laser cut kit in two versions, I/C and electric and Page Boy’s is the electric one of course. It should end up weighing just under 4lbs when fitted with a 650kv motor swinging a 12×6 prop, a 60A esc and a 4 cell lipo.Page Boy reports that the laser cut kit is of very good quality. The original glow version was first produced by Precedent and their FunFly won several events including the Nationals Fun Fly Class 2 back in the 80’s.

Chas is building a Tony Nijhuis designed Westland Lysander that’s 1/9th scale giving it a wingspan of 1676mm (66”).The final weight 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. He hasn’t made a decision on the colour scheme yet but this one is a contender.

Bob the Builder is building a Ghost Rider 50, he likes the way Dougal’s flies so much he’s decided to make his own.Actually he says it’s ‘based on a Ghost Rider 50′ so presumably he’s made a few changes. It’s 1300mm span (51”) and is fitted with a PropDrive 1100kv motor that should produce around 800W on a 4 cell lipo. That ought to be plenty as Bob thinks the model will weigh 4lbs. Wonder if it’ll make him fly like Dougal? Answers on a postcard to: Bob the Builder, Not Even Close, Never-In-a-Million-Years…

I have details of several other models that are under construction plus a few other interesting snippets and photos but I’ll save those for the December edition of Patch News when I’m likely to be rather short of material.

I haven’t had any of Kryten’s superb photos this month so you’ll have to put up with a few that I snapped with my mobile. These were while we were flying inside the live fence to avoid the bullocks and nobody hit it:

Video time now and this one includes footage from Captain Slow and Dougal. Please watch it full screen, it so much better with small models flying around.

If the video won’t play for you please click HERE

And finally, a festive joke to warm the mince pies of your hearts:

A plumber, a prison warder, and an airline pilot all died on Christmas Eve and rose to heaven.

St. Peter met them at the pearly gates saying “Since you died on Christmas Eve before I can let you in you’ve all got to show me something that represents Christmas.”

The plumber put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a lighter. He then lit it, and said “It’s a Christmas candle”
St. Peter said “Yes, there are candles for Christmas, go on in.”

The prison warder produced a set of keys and shook them saying “These are Jingle bells.”
St. Peter said “Well there are bells at Christmas so you can go in.”

But when the pilot rummaged in his pockets all he could find was a pair of stewardess’s panties.
St. Peter demanded “And just what do those have to do with Christmas? “

“These? Oh these are Carols…”

Merry Christmas everybody
Colin Cowplain

Patch News – October 2019

I said in the last Patch News that September had started with great weather but finished with strong winds and rain. Well the awful weather continued into October and although we did have a few good days much of the month was pretty lousy. Undeterred by the rain some of the keener (or should that be more stupid) members still managed to mow the patch a few times and hopefully it won’t need to be cut again for a while as it’s now turning colder.One particularly horrible very wet and windy Friday afternoon only three of us were able to make it for mowing, but at least we were cheered up by Woody supplying cakes as it was his birthday. Thanks Woody.

Following the departure of the late lamented 473 and all of his mates the field stayed bullock free for the whole of the month. The young replacements have now moved into the lower field but they’ll probably go inside for the winter before coming to our field. That’s what we’re hoping but we’re keeping the fence in place just in case.

Probably as a result of the poor weather not many new models were flown in October but the regular pilots flew whenever possible and there were a few other things that kept us entertained anyway. One midweek day early in the month we were pleased to see a Gypsy Moth exploring the area. It didn’t seem to be aware of us at all but it flew several fairly low and close passes and stayed in the general area for a few minutes. Luckily Kryten was on hand with his decent camera and he managed to snap this photo despite the rather murky weather conditions.I took some rather poor quality video with my mobile which you can see in this month’s video. Later in the month, on one of the few midweek days of perfect weather, we were treated to a very low fly-by by what I think was one of the Solent Flight Ikarus C42’s from Lower Upham Airfield. They are often in the area when we are flying but rarely come very low or very close to us. On this occasion the pilot seemed to be practising engine out procedures as several times the plane came down very low with the engine idling before open the throttle and climbing away. Mostly it wasn’t close to us but on one occasion it came almost overhead and I managed to take some video.This photo is a screenshot from the video which you can see in this month’s video. Needless to say we quickly landed all models on both these occasions and didn’t fly again until we were sure they’d left the area.

We are continuing with the foamboard fun and I’ve lost count of how many there are now in the club, must be about twenty I think. Captain Slow and I seem to have got into the habit of flying in close formation and sometimes the inevitable collisions occur. These are always Captain Slow’s fault of course, I always do my best to avoid contact despite what he says! There is very rarely any damage from these collisions, sometimes a nick from the prop but almost never anything more. On the day of the Gypsy Moth visit we were practising our formation flying when Captain Slow managed to carelessly hook his Mig-29 tailplane into the dangling battery lead on my Sukhoi, very poor piloting by him I thought. Kryten snapped a couple of great photos, the first when we were in close formation shows the battery lead dangling underneath my Sukhoi, and the second when we were actually locked together.Of course we both immediately shut our throttles but then found there was a distinct lack of directional control which meant Kryten had to take rather sharpish avoiding action but all was well. This is how they ‘landed’.There was no damage at all to either model so once we’d managed to disentangle the planes we carried on flying. The things we do just to help Kryten get some decent pictures…

Dougal Entendre has put together another 3D model, an MX2 3D EPP from Hobbyking, exactly the same as Chuck Berry’s that I featured a couple of months back. It comes as airframe only so no motor, esc, or servos are included but most of us already have suitable electronics to hand anyway. It’s currently showing as around £45 on the HobbyKing website but I think Dougal said he only paid £35, a real bargain. This is what Hobbyking say about it: Its fuselage is torsionally very stiff yet light with loads of space beneath the long top hatch for your radio and power system. The wing is a one piece affair featuring EPP construction, a very accurate symmetrical aerofoil with 2 additional spars to minimise flex and twist. The control surfaces are something else – the elevator, rudder and ailerons feature a 3 layer construction (EPP-Depron-EPP) making for stiff surfaces and NO flex at extreme throws! Snap rolls ‘Snap’ and control response is instantaneous. The light – yet rigid – airframe adds up to one great flying 3D ‘foamy’. Waterfalls, harriers, flat spins, rolling circles this model has the precision to perform these and any other moves you can think of! Assembly of the airframe in a quick 10-15 minute process with the help of a little medium CA. The radio and power system layouts are very straightforward, the long top hatch making for easy access. This is a great model for general park flying and hard core 3D. You will be hard pressed to break this model, it will take hard knocks and just keep bouncing back every time! Dougal has fitted his MX2 out with the Propdrive 2830 1100kv motor that was previously in his now defunct Laius, a 40A ESC and a three cell 1500mAh lipo. At the moment the prop is an APC-style 10×5, but he wants to go up to at least a 10×6 or 11×5 as it could do with a bit more power and there was still 45% battery capacity left after a 5 minute flight. Dougal tells me that he stripped the plastic gears on the 9g elevator servo just with the aerodynamic loads, so he needs to replace that one with something beefier, and probably the rudder servo as well.1066 has (had?) a Hobbyking Sbach 3D EPP which is a variation of the same base model but according to 1066 the engine mount/front bulkhead (a weak point of the Sbach) is stronger on the MX2.  Dougal’s first flight with the MX2 looked very promising, I think it will be as good as 1066’s Sbach, judge for yourselves in this month’s video.

Captain Slow has now fitted some FPV gear to the Mini Skyhunter that he first flew back in July. That first flight was ‘interesting’ because the model had a drastic tip stall so Captain Slow has taken steps to eliminate it. He has moved the centre of gravity forward by fitting two 3 cell lipos instead of one and that seems to have solved the problem.The FPV gear consists of a Foxeer Predator Mini camera, an Eachine TD600 video transmitter, and Quanum Cyclops goggles. Captain Slow is slowly getting round to slotting in an SD card to record video of his flights but refuses to rush! He had several FPV flights in October and all went well, no problems with either the equipment or him flying it. He finds it better to sit down when wearing the goggles and he has a tendency to lose his balance. That’s understandable, both Dougal and I occasionally find ourselves a bit off balance at certain times although it happens less and less as we get more experienced. We only ever fly one FPV plane at a time which means there is often a spare set of goggles doing nothing so sometimes another club member will watch a flight to get the feel for FPV.In this photo Gentleman Jim was keeping an eye on Captain Slow while he explored the area with the Skyhunter.

1066 has been searching for a hotliner (fast aerobatic powered glider) for a some time now but he hasn’t been able to find anything he really likes, at least not at a price that he really likes. Eventually he bought a rather battered second-hand Multiplex Gilb on eBay and has spent some time tarting it up. I’ve not heard of the Gilb so I’ve done a bit of searching on the internet and discovered that Multiplex introduced the model way back in 1995. The wingspan is 2150mm, length 1070mm and all up weight is in the 2500-3200g range. It was reviewed in QFI (Quiet Flight International) in July 1995 but as I don’t have the magazine I can’t tell you what it says. On one of the forums someone was talking about various brushed motors and using 10-14 cells, ah yes, the old pre-brushless motor days with nicad/nimh batteries! 1066’s model came ready fitted with a Tornado Thumper 3536-06 1270kv outrunner motor and a 70A speed controller. 1066 is using various four cell lipos, mostly in the 3000-3300mAh range and the power is reasonable although he’d like a bit more. I’m not sure what prop size he’s using but he said he’d tested one with 2” more pitch and the current went up to 90A so he can’t fly with that one!He had to do quite a lot of work to the model to get it ready for flight and quickly discovered that more work was needed, it was well out of trim. I wasn’t present for the first flight but apparently the model was a real handful. After some more work it’s now flying pretty well although there’s still a bit to do to get it flying as 1066 would like. It’s pretty quick so not easy to video but I managed to get some footage which is in the video.

Captain Slow has also bought himself a second-hand Multiplex model, this one’s a Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter that he found on the BMFA Classifieds webpage. The following photos are all taken from the advert. The Turbo Porter is a moulded foam model that has the usual controls plus flaps and a scale sprung undercarriage with large wheels. It can be converted for operation from water with the addition of a float kit. The 1250mm span model comes fitted with a Permax 3530 1100kv motor with an 11×5.5 prop, a 40A esc, and 6 metal geared digital servos. The suggested lipo is a 3 cell 2100-2700mAh, a pretty standard size that we all have. The cheapest I can find it new online is £170 and some retailers list it at over £200 so I reckon Captain Slow got a bargain at just £75.I haven’t yet seen the plane for myself but Captain Slow says it’s in good condition and he just needs to change the esc connector and fit a receiver and battery. We should get to see it sometime towards the end of next year then.

I always feel poor old Kryten gets a bit of a rough deal in Patch News, he provides us all with some superb flying shots of our models but never gets any photos of his own models in action. My mobile takes excellent photos of stationary models and pilots, and it’s pretty good for video as well, but it’s just not up to the job when it comes to capturing flying shots. This was the best I could get of Kryten’s E-flite Apprentice:But I did manage to capture Captain Slow measuring Kryten’s spot landing attempt one day. It was an excellent spot landing but as an aside, why on earth has Captain Slow got ER embroidered on his socks?Is he still wearing socks he purloined when he was merely Acting Lance Corporal Slow all those years ago?

Dougal had an interesting incident while flying his Skyfun using FPV one day. On the second flight of the day I was Dougal’s spotter and the model seemed to be flying well but suddenly I could see something hanging underneath it.At almost the same moment Dougal said he’d lost power. He glided the Skyfun in for a deadstick landing and on the approach I realised it was the motor that was hanging down. When we reached the model we could see what had happened, the prop had thrown a blade and the ensuing vibration had snapped the metal mount. At some point the second prop blade had also broken and one of them had chopped the top off one of the fins as it flew off! The motor was left dangling by its wires and Dougal was lucky that it hadn’t pulled the plugs out from the esc wires, we would probably never have found it. I’m not sure if the motor mount is a stock item or a special Skyfun part but I expect Dougal will soon have it sorted and flying again.

It was good to see Gorgeous Gary on the last Sunday in October, he’s been absent for a while blaming holidays, work, and life in general. He brought along a couple of models, his foamboard Sukhoi SU-27 and his Ripmax Jive.Gary was slightly nervous having not flown for a while but the Sukhoi soon put a big smile on his face. The Jive was also ok although that strange dirty, noisy, smelly thing on the front seemed a bit reluctant to run at first.I was flying when Gary was trying to start it but I could hear comments of “There’s an answer to that” etc. How cruel, you’d never hear me saying things like that! It was all in good fun and the Jive was soon up and flying.

My Volantex Ranger 1600 is flying well on FPV and I made a few changes to it in October. The Ranger 1600 comes without an undercarriage although the 1200, 1400, and 2400 versions all have one. I wanted to use mine to practice FPV take-offs and landings so I fitted an undercarriage from another model. It worked well enough but the wire was too weak and bent on anything less than a perfect landing so I’ve now replaced it with one made of stiffer wire. It’s proved to be much better and has stood up to many touch & go’s and landings without bending. I have also fitted another FPV set-up whilst retaining the original one so I can choose which to use at any time. The original FPV equipment is all fitted inside the Ranger fuselage with the camera mounted in an existing hole under the nose. But the model also comes with a moulded foam insert that clips on in place of the usual canopy so I fitted the latest set of equipment to that. The second set-up consists of a Caddx Turbo Micro camera that I spotted in the Hobbyking sale for just £8.02 and a Speedy Bee VTX-DVR from Banggood for £11.92. So for just under £20 I got what has turned out to be a good quality camera and a transmitter that sends the video stream back to the goggles and also records the video onto a micro SD card, ridiculously cheap.The set-up works well and having the camera mounted higher up has proved to be much better as the original camera tends to pick up dew and grass cuttings on the lens during take-offs, not ideal. The higher mounted camera avoids all that and although it’s only around 100mm higher than the original it makes a surprising difference when taking-off, I can actually see where I’m going instead of just grass!

Time now for a few of Kryten’s excellent action photos:

Video time now and this one includes quite a bit of FPV footage from both me and Dougal. Please watch it full screen, it so much better with small models flying around.If the video won’t play for you please click HERE

A class of school children were taken on an airport tour and their last stop was in the control tower. They were given a talk by an air traffic controller who explained how everything worked and he then asked if there are any questions.
One lad says “Have you ever had a real emergency?”
“Well there was one time when we ran out of coffee…”

Colin Cowplain

Patch News – September 2019

As is often the case September brought a bit of an Indian summer and the beginning of the month glorious.Sadly the last ten days or so of the month turned very bleak indeed. The Foolish Five that turned up on the 22nd were caught out before even entering the field and sheltered in the barn for an hour or so before going home.Unfortunately you can’t actually see the torrential rain behind us in the photo but believe me it was there.

I will start with some sad news, Captain Slow’s favourite bullock 473 has moved on to pastures new. Well actually to a butchers, along with the rest of the herd. 473 had become such friends with Captain Slow that he would run to the gate when he heard the Captain’s car coming down the track. He was so reluctant to go that tried to hitch a lift…In an effort to console the tough, war hardened Captain the committee chipped in and bought him a keepsake.

The first model to feature this month is Dwayne Pipe’s TSR2 which has actually been around for a little while.It’s flown well lots of times but has also had its fair share of ‘abrupt arrivals’. Dwayne has been steadily improving the model and gradually increasing the thrust, but last time out it suffered a sudden total loss of power which Dwayne later discovered was due to the speed controller failing. This month it re-emerged after the latest rebuild.So the TSR2 now has an uprated speed controller to cope with more current and this time the flight went well until Dwayne was caught out by the strong wind when he tried to turn back towards the patch from downwind.  Unfortunately the TSR2’s nose went up too much which can be fatal for an EDF, they need to keep lots of air going through the fan. The model stalled and Dwayne was unable to stop it dropping into the valley. But it will return, Dwayne is excellent at repairing damage and I look forward to seeing it flying again soon. I was videoing at the time of the rather distant crash so you can see it in this month’s video.

But Dwayne Pipe wasn’t the only member to take a trip down the valley in September was he Dougal?!To be fair Dougal Entendre’s long walk wasn’t caused by a crash as such, he’d been doing one of his amazing sycamore spins with his Tomahawk but it refused to come out of it. The Tomahawk is a flying wing that Dougal has discovered will spin incredibly rapidly around its centre point if he gets the entry to the manoeuvre correct. But once in the spin the exit can be a problem and if Dougal can’t get it to come out it simply continues spinning all the way down to the deck. Fortunately it spins so quickly that the rate of descent is quite slow and it very rarely sustains any damage. Previously when it’s happened the Tomahawk has come down in the field but on one particularly windy September day it drifted well out over the valley and the photo opportunity was simply too good to miss!

In last month’s Patch News I showed you three new models that all belonged to Chuck Berry and in September he continued the trend and turned up with yet another one, this time it was a Great Planes ElectriFly Yak-55M.Apparently the M version of the Yak-55 was designed in 1989 with shorter and more tapered wings to give it a faster roll rate than the original 55 had. The Great Planes ARTF model is 1285mm span and is constructed from lite-ply and covered in Monokote. Chuck has fitted it with a Prodrive V2 3548 900kv motor, a YEP 80A esc and a 12×6 prop. The four servos Chuck used are Radient RDNA0079s, that’s not a make I’m familiar with at all. The manufacturer recommends using a 4s 2200 mAh lipo but Chuck is using 4s 2700mAh packs to extend the flight time slightly. I did the maiden flight for Chuck and found it to be an excellent flier. Chuck has now flown it quite a bit and says it has a slight pitch coupling with the rudder, nothing that a little mixing can’t sort out I imagine.

Sticking with similar 3D machines Mike Smith has treated himself to an FMS Sbach 342 and very nice it is too.The 1300mm span model comes as Plug and Play so Mike just had to fit a receiver and a 4 cell battery. The motor is a 3948 760kv brushless outrunner which is coupled to a 60A speed controller that has a 3A BEC and the propeller is a 3 bladed 13×5. I’m quite surprised by the prop size, the recommended set up for Chuck’s Yak 55 is a 4250 800kv outrunner fitted with a 2 bladed 12×6 prop. The models are almost the same size and the weights are similar with the Sbach being slightly heavier. There’s a big difference between a 3 bladed 13×5 and a 2 bladed 12×6 but both planes fly very well and appear to have plenty of power so what do I know!The four pre-fitted servos are all 17g and unlike the Yak the Sbach is moulded from EPO foam. Mike is using 3000mAh 4 cell lipos that do the job perfectly. You can compare the Yak and Sbach flights in this month’s video.

Away from the patch we had the PAM Skittles Evening on 14th September at the Barley Mow in Walderton. I had a great night and I think everyone enjoyed both the buffet and the bowling. It’s just a bit of fun but we do always present prizes to the best lady and the best man bowlers and this year, for the first time in the history of the club, a husband and wife won both. Congratulations to Bob and Bonnie Hill, for one month only we have Bob the Bowler!We also had a raffle and one of the many prize winners was Cameron Agate who wisely selected a tub of roses for his mum Angie. I have so say that he didn’t exactly look overjoyed with it!

Always on the lookout for a bargain Chas Butler picked up this Multiplex Stuntmaster for around half the new price.He spotted it on the stand of a dealer from Bournemouth while at the LMA show in Much Markle in September. The model was ready to go, just needing a receiver and battery adding. According to the specs it uses 3 cell 450mAh lipos, I wonder if Chas has got any of those or if he’s managed to squeeze in a larger one. It looks completely unmarked to me but apparently the dealer dinged a wingtip on his sales table so he knocked another £5 off the price. Actually, if you zoom in on the photos you can just make out a very small ding on the right hand wingtip. The Stuntmaster is designed to be flown either indoors or outdoors in very light wind conditions and the weather hasn’t been calm enough to fly it outdoors since Chas bought it. But no doubt he’ll fly it soon and discover just how good (or bad!) he is at 3D flying. The Stuntmaster is made from Elapor (the Multiplex version of EPO foam) with carbon fibre reinforcements, has a wingspan of 870mm and weighs just 350g (12.3ozs). The ready fitted hardware consists of a Permax 2206 1050kv outrunner, a 20A esc and three 8g servos. The 9×5 propeller is held in place by a rubber O-ring so any unscheduled arrivals shouldn’t damage the motor shaft, not that Chas will have any unscheduled arrivals obviously… 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 common on indoor ones. Looking at some of the online videos of the Stuntmaster it’s a very capable model that can do just about any 3D manoeuvre you can think of, I look forward to Chas demonstrating them for us!

Gorgeous Gary has been working hard on his latest project recently, a Goldberg Anniversary Edition Piper Cub. It’s a proper builders’ model and comes with a 33 page manual containing lots of photos and instructions. The manual mentions die cut parts but looking at Gary’s photos they seem to be laser cut so I assume the kit has been updated. It can be built as either the standard or clipped wing version and Gary has opted for the clipped wing one at around 1715mm span. Gary being Gary, he’s fitting an OS Max 65 I/C motor to it (I can hardly bear to type such a thing!) so it should certainly have plenty of power. He currently trying to source a Pitts style muffler for the engine so he doesn’t have an ugly silencer hanging outside the cowl. There’s an answer to that Gary…! The finished weight should be around 7.5lbs. It looks to be coming along nicely so it shouldn’t be too long before we see it flying.

Certainly the most challenging model to appear this month was Catapult King’s Fairchild Republic A-10.It’s a totally scratch built twin ducted fan mode with retracts, not an overnight project, in fact about a year. This is what Catapult says: Basically I had two 10 blade 50mm EDFs that were destined for the F14 I started ages ago, I also had some retracts that I couldn’t use on the F14 and thought I would like to do a model using both so up came the idea of an A10. I found a 3D view picture and blew it up on a printer until I had a size that would fit the motors and printed it out. From the blown up version the model was basically made up as I went. The main wing didn’t take too long except it took a while to work out how to install the retracts as this was my first time using them. The tail/elevator sections came next followed by the fuselage, all the time thinking about where the electrics etc. would go. The nose wheel and doors and how to sequence them proved to be a pain. It’s mainly made from balsa with ply to strengthen and Depron to lose weight where I could. However, eventually I came up with a reasonable looking plane but I thought it was overweight which, as it turns out, it appears to be. The power train is two 10 blade EDFs which according to spec provide 650g of static thrust each, the model unfortunately has come in at 1.55kg flying weight. It uses a single 2650mAh 4s battery (all I’ve got) and good old HK 9g servos all round plus the heavy retracts. I’d hoped that once in the air the motors would be more efficient and at least it would fly, wrong! I think Catapult is being too hard on himself and personally I don’t think the problem is simply lack of thrust on an overweight model. I wonder if the wing/tail incidence is correct and also maybe the thrust line. You can see the attempts at flight in the video, it doesn’t look like a lack of thrust to me. But Catapult will persevere and I reckon he’ll get it sorted, after all he’s already had success with some pretty outlandish models.

Back to Dougal Entendre now. We’ve all had the warnings drummed into us about not using a mobile phone while driving but apparently Dougal didn’t realise it applied to model flying as well! He wasn’t actually intending to use his mobile as a phone, he wanted to use the timer on it to see how many loops he could do in one minute for the comp.In the end it was irrelevant as he longer had a competitive model to try it with anyway. RIP the Laius. Just to rub salt into his wounds I then proceeded to take the lead in the comp with 29 loops but no doubt he’ll have another attempt with a different model. He cheered himself up by ordering a new FPV camera, a pretty red one.Of course it’s not just the colour that’s different, this one has a 1.8mm focal length lens and his existing one has a 2.5mm lens which means he’ll have a wider field of view (FOV). It’s always good to experiment.

Kryten took some amazing flying photos for us again this month, here’s a selection for you to enjoy:

Video time now and this month it includes footage by Captain Slow and Dougal Entendre, thanks chaps. 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

And finally, with thoughts of Captain Slow and bullock 473:
Why wouldn’t the farmers invest in flying cows? Because the steaks would have been too high…

Colin Cowplain

Patch News – August 2019

August has come and gone and so have the bullocks. As expected they returned to our field early in the month but have now moved on again. Woody seemed to prefer staying with the bullocks rather than joining the pilots. The bullocks’ departure may have been helped by a car smashing into the gate post and preventing the gate closing properly. One unkind wit was heard to mention that they didn’t realise Basher Bob drove a small red Peugeot…Farmer George has ‘topped’ the field, and according to Google Regular topping helps to maintain a good quality grass sward which has many benefits for both your land and your animals. Fortunately he left the patch alone and our regular mowing is doing an excellent job of maintaining a good quality grass without topping. We can’t see any sign of the topping from ground level but it’s very noticeable from the air when flying FPV.The weather was good for most of the month although one Sunday was lost due to wind and rain. As I was away that week I didn’t care! The August Bank Holiday weekend saw record breaking high temperatures and light wind, perfect for us and for the BMFA Nationals being held at Barkston Heath. The Nationals even made the BBC! It’s HERE

The hot weather brought out lots of bugs and I spotted a cute little grasshopper checking out my Volantex Ranger.Unfortunately Dougal Entendre got bitten by a horsefly and ended up with a very swollen infected leg that prevented him from walking up to the patch for a while. Several courses of antibiotics sorted him out eventually.

Lots of new models made the most of the good weather and the first three I’ll feature all belong to Chuck Berry.His first is an MX2 from HobbyKing, a 955mm span 3D model made mostly from EPP. It comes as an ARF so Chuck added a Turnigy Aerodrive 1050kv motor, a 30A HobbyKing speed controller and a 10×4.7 carbon fibre prop.The battery used is a surprisingly small 3 cell 1300mAh lipo. 1066 has been flying one of these for a while and found it to be an excellent 3D model. Chuck’s also flies very well so we expect to see him prop hanging it very soon.

Chuck’s second new model was yet another foamboard Sukhoi SU-27 from HobbyKing. I included a couple of photos of the Sukhoi last month but Chuck had found a problem with one of the linkages so it hadn’t flown.He is using a Turnigy D2205 2300kv motor with 30A HobbyKing speed controller and a 3 cell 1300mAh lipo.Like me Chuck has fitted a single rudder to one of the fins, it works well and Chuck is able to do the high alpha manoeuvres well. These foamboard models bring out the hooligan in pilots and the target often seems to be Captain Slow. But unlike my gentle touches Chuck went the whole hog and took half the fin off Captain Slow’s Sukhoi.Well done Chuck, keep it up! Sadly it didn’t quite all go Chuck’s way though, this was one of his ‘landings’.But the foamboard range of models are all surprisingly tough and there was no damage to the Sukhoi this time.

And last but definitely not least of Chuck’s new fleet is an FMS Edge 540, a 1320mm span Plug’N’Play model.It comes ready fitted with an FMS 3948-KV760 motor turning a 3 blade 13×5 prop, a 60A speed controller and four 17g metal gear servos. Chuck is using 4 cell 2700mAh lipo packs which give a flight time of around 6 minutes. It’s certainly well rated and seemed to fly very nicely when I did the test flight. It needs Dougal Entendre or 1066 to properly check out the 3D capabilities but it did everything I tried easily enough. Bad news if you’d like one of your own, I’m afraid it’s been discontinued. You can see all three of Chuck’s new models flying in this month’s video.

It’s Bob the Builder’s turn now, he’s got himself a two metre span Volantex Phoenix 2000 V2 glider from HobbyKing.I can’t find anything that lists the differences between the V1 and the V2, the most obvious sign is that the V2 has a very nice wheel mounted in a new fuselage moulding. Apparently the tail has been redesigned to make it stronger and it comes with flaps as standard, I think the flaps were extra on the V1. The fuselage is made from blow moulded plastic and the wings and tail are EPO foam. Bob flew the model in its’ original Plug’N’Play form but he very quickly decided he wanted more power and swapped out the original 28mm 1050kv motor for a much more powerful one.After doing some research he chose a Turnigy SK3 GliderDrive of 1400kv. The GliderDrive motor is effectively an outrunner in a can meaning that the outside of the motor does not spin so it’s ideal for the slim nose of a glider. At the moment Bob is still using the original 10×6 folding prop and he’s changed the original 30A esc to a 50A one.The previous motor gave 300W on 3 cells, the new one gives 450W on 3 cells and 700W on 4 cells, although he hasn’t flown it on 4 cells yet. Bob has also added more colour to both the top and underside of the wings.

Next up is another ‘proper’ model builder, John Warren. This time John has built a 66inch span Jocasta from a plan in RCME in October 2014. The 66” span all built-up high wing model was designed by Jim Newbury and John has equipped his with the 4-Max recommended set-up consisting of a 3547 800kv motor, a 60A esc, and a 12×6 prop. It runs on a 3 cell lipo and pulls 29A at full throttle, giving around 250W. A 3 cell lipo is nominally 11.1v so at 29A the wattage should be around 320W, so 250W is probably a good average figure with a partly discharged lipo. The model weighs almost 5lbs so we thought it might be a bit marginal with that power but it takes off nicely and happily stooges around on half throttle with no problems. Dougal Entendre did the test flight which was fine until the battery died unexpectedly early. He got the model safely back on the ground with no damage and our thoughts were that perhaps John’s batteries were past their best and unable to deliver the power they should but subsequently the flights have been much longer and the packs have had plenty left in them so maybe that first one just hadn’t received a full charge. John has made a lovely job of the Jocasta and it flies well, a perfect model for John in fact.

Back to the foamboard jets now, Dwayne Pipe has put together an SU-27 and it’s…just like all the others!Well not quite actually, I asked Dwayne for some info on the model and this is what he said: It’s a pretty standard setup. 2200kv HobbyKing Turnigy 2826/6 motor with a HobbyKing 30A esc and a 6×4 prop powered by a 1300mAh battery. To reduce the noise, as well as the standard enlarging of the propeller slot, I glued some profiled balsa to the foamboard edges that face the prop wash. This was intended to have two effects: to provide extra strengthening to reduce vibration on the rear of the aircraft, and to stop the formation of Karman vortices which will generate vibration around any flat facing surface, like the edges of the foamboard, in the flowstream. (Look them up on Google). How effective this was remains to be seen.Well having seen (and heard) it fly I can safely say it’s certainly not any louder than the other SU-27s, not sure if it’s any quieter or not but it has to be worth trying. I might do the same on mine to see if I can notice a difference.

Chas Butler has become a regular attendee at the flying field again and is building up his fleet of models. His latest one is a Multiplex Extra 330SC designed by multiple world champion Gernot Bruckmann. The Extra is available in either kit form (ARTF) or Receiver Ready (RR). The RR version comes fitted with a Multiplex PERMAX BL-O 3520-920kv motor, a 55A esc, and four Hitec HS-82MG servos. At the time of writing it’s only had one flight and Chas was being very careful with it especially as he found the controls extremely sensitive. You can see it in this months’ video. This is what Chas has to say about his: Mine is a Receiver Ready version requiring just a receiver and a 3 cell 30C 2600mAh flight battery. I’ve installed a 6 channel JR PROPO DFA receiver and the battery used was an Overlander one of 2900mAh capacity. Since the maiden flight I’ve reduced the Aileron travel by 50% on rates with 50% Exponential and the Elevator by 25% on rates, also with 50% Exponential.
I’m just waiting now for the chance to fly it again. The first flight was very nervy but I’m sure that next time I will be more confident as that was the first flight for some years with any plane quite so responsive.
I’ve seen Gernot Bruckmann flying one of these and know what a superb model they are so I expect to see Chas performing all kinds of crazy manoeuvres very soon.

The last new model is a Pichler HiSpeed belonging to 1066. It certainly looks nice but 1066 isn’t very happy with it. He bought it from RobotBirds and this is what their website says about it. The HiSpeed is the latest release in the Speed series designed and developed by Pichler, Germany. While this model is designed to offer breath-taking high-speed flights in excess of 200km/h it is also capable of slow-speed fly-bys and landings. This version is supplied as Plug-and-Play (PNP) needing minimal assembly. It is 95% pre-built and includes the recommended Pulsar C5066 P20-1300 brushless motor, 40A brushless ESC, fast 9g servos and a high-performance spinner/propeller. The main gripe 1066 has is that all the electrical parts (motor, esc, servos) weren’t already fitted, they were just included loose in the package. Also, although the website says it needs a 3 cell lipo and the esc is only rated for 3 cells the instruction say to use 4 cells for the best speed. The model flew nicely on the first flight and appeared to groove very well but it really wasn’t very fast, certainly nothing like 200km/h. For the second flight 1066 fitted a larger prop and it was a bit faster but still not really what he was hoping for. He doesn’t have any 4 cell lipos so if he wants more speed he’ll have to buy some and also swap the esc for one that can handle 4 cells. Never mind, it looks good in the air and it’s quite fast enough for most PAM members! Check it out in this months’ video.

Kryten took lots of excellent flying photos with his quality camera this month, here’s a selection for you: Other photo and video contributors this month were Dougal Entendre and Captain Slow, thanks chaps. Video time now, please watch it full screen, it so much better with small models flying around:If the video won’t play for you please click HERE

Gatwick tower: “BA123, contact Departure on 124.7.”
BA123: “Tower, BA123 switching to Departure …  by the way, after we lifted off, we saw some kind of dead animal on the far end of the runway.”
Tower: “EasyJet 456, cleared for take-off; did you copy the report from BA123?”
EasyJet 456: “EasyJet 456, cleared for take-off roger; and roger, we copied BA123, we’ve already notified our caterers.”

Colin Cowplain

Patch News – July 2019

In the June edition of Patch News I said that the June weather hadn’t been up to much and that maybe July would be better. It was, much better! Much of the month was hot and sunny and we had a new UK record temperature towards the end of the July. The great weather meant some good turnouts at the patch and the Farts have been cutting the grass regularly, although it hasn’t grown much this month, and the patch is now in superb condition.  The bullocks moved out early in July and haven’t yet returned but I doubt it will be long. Captain Slow has been missing his favourite, number 73, so 1066 snapped this keepsake and sent it to him via the WhatsApp group:

The first new model I’ll feature this month is this profile Edge 540 in Castrol colours. It belongs to Dougal Entendre and was put together by his son Cameron from a kit that Dougal bought several years ago. I was away on the day that Dougal tested it and the only information I have is that “it flew ok”. All I can go by is the photos but I have to say that it’s one of the ugliest models I’ve ever seen! I Googled it and found several photos of the full-size original and I think that’s pretty ugly as well so it must be the colour scheme.

The same day the Edge 540 flew Woody brought along a much prettier model, his new E-flite F-15. This is what the E-flite website says: The E-flite® F-15 Eagle 64mm EDF jet is a replica of the world-renowned air superiority fighter flown by the U.S. Air Force. It’s equipped with a 4S-compatible brushless motor and a 40-amp ESC that are matched to an 11-blade fan to deliver fantastic speed, thrust and a turbine-like sound. The factory-installed power system and servos help make it quick and easy to assemble the lightweight yet durable EPO airframe with bolt-on wings so you can be flying in less time than it takes to charge a battery. Optional-use fixed landing gear with a steerable nose wheel is included so you can taxi, take off and land on runways, or you can leave the landing gear off for improved performance plus easy hand launches and landings on grass. You can also fly with or without the wing-mounted drop tanks and missiles depending on the look and handling you prefer. And it all adds up to deliver one of the easiest to enjoy and easiest to fly Eagle models ever!

Woody bought the Bind N Fly version that comes with a Spektrum receiver with AS3X gyro and Safe Select technology: This is the first high-performance F-15 model equipped with exclusive Spektrum® AS3X® and SAFE® Select technologies. AS3X works behind the scenes to smooth out the effects of wind and turbulence to deliver a locked-in feel that makes it seem like you’re flying a much larger jet. Optional-use SAFE Select offers pitch and bank angle limits along with automatic self-levelling that can be turned on and off at the flip of a switch making this the easiest to fly Eagle yet! And if you don’t want to enable the SAFE Select features, simply bind the receiver normally and only AS3X will be active.

Dougal did the test flight and with the Safe technology switched off and a 4 cell lipo the F-15 didn’t get away from the launch, the thrust just seemed to push it down more than up elevator could overcome. So Woody changed to a 3 cell lipo to save nose weight and move the centre of gravity rearwards a little and Dougal managed to get it away from the launch and flying nicely. Since then I’ve flown it several times and found that with Safe switched on it goes away from the launch easily but is then a bit too limited in roll to fly with any fun. So I’ve been turning Safe off straight after the launch and flying it normally when it performs really well. It will happily cruise around on half throttle and has plenty of power for the more exciting stuff on full throttle so I can’t really see why you’d want to use the suggested 4 cells. Woody has flown it with Safe switched both on and off and found it’s certainly easier to handle with it on but it will really only fly quite large circuits around the field as the roll is limited a bit too much.I’ve found that the fan alignment isn’t quite right and opening the throttle pushes the nose down which is ok in normal flight but makes landing slightly awkward, you have to be prepared that when you shut the throttle the nose will go up and you need to add some down elevator.  It might be possible to correct it with an elevator/throttle mix but we haven’t tried it yet. It looks great in the air and my only complaint is that it’s too quiet! You can barely hear the fan at all and it’s much quieter than many prop driven electric models. See it for yourself in this month’s video.

Captain Slow lived up to his nickname in early July when he launched Dougal’s Tomahawk pusher motored model, he didn’t move his hand away quickly enough and his knuckle was nicked by the propeller.Fortunately it wasn’t serious, it could have been much worse, but it does serve as a warning to be extra careful when launching pusher models. It also proved the worth of the first aid packs that all members are issued with.
You do have yours with you at the patch don’t you? They are of little use left in the car…

While I’m on the subject of Captain Slow I’ll show you what he’s done to one of the fins on his foamboard Mig-29.We’ve been enjoying lots of really close formation antics with the foamboard jets, they’re almost indestructible and are very cheap anyway. With their mid-mounted motors even if the planes nudge each other the props rarely touch anything but on one occasion Captain Slow’s Mig obviously climbed up into the path of my SU-27.
I find the abusive adornment totally uncalled for when I was the completely innocent party…possibly…

On 11th July Dwayne Pipe ran the annual Chuck Glider Competition at Buriton recreation ground before the start of the club meeting. The comp is always popular and we had a reasonable turnout on the warm and almost windless evening. There were six rounds flown with the total time of all six flights producing the score, no discards allowed. The winner of the comp, obviously the most prestigious, demanding, and skilful comp of the year, was Andy Palmer (Colin Cowplain) with Mark Agate (Dougal Entendre) second, and Percy Vears (Ron Vears) a very close third.

We were pleased to see Mike Critchley visit the field after being absent for a few months while he was ‘working’ at sailing around the Caribbean and Norway. As you can imagine we were all very sympathetic to the poor chap!He brought along a new Multiplex EasyGlider for me to trim out and I discovered that it didn’t need a single click of trim on any surface. Mike already had an EasyGlider when he joined the club but I think he damaged it and decided to treat himself to a new one. As well as flying with us Mike also flies with MVSA and the EasyGlider is an ideal model for slope soaring as well as flat field flying.

Back to Captain Slow now, he’s actually finished assembling his Sonic Modell Mini Skyhunter, that must be a record.He bought the model from Banggood where it is available from their UK warehouse so there’s no waiting for shipment from China, no import duty to pay, and less risk of it being damaged in transit. I pictured it last month in its ‘naked’ state but now it’s complete and flying. The Skyhunter is 1238mm span and is moulded from EPO foam with carbon fibre tail booms. Captain Slow has fitted a Turnigy Aerodrive SK2826 1130kV motor and runs it on 3 cells although he actually fits two 3 cell 2200mAh packs to get the correct centre of gravity. There is loads of room for two packs and he could connect them in parallel to double the flight time but it flies for ages on just one anyway. The first flight was fine until I asked Captain Slow to do a nice low and slow pass for me to video and he discovered that it tip-stalls quite easily. It took everybody by surprise, not least of all Kryten who had a close-up view of the Skyhunter while Captain Slow regained control! But no harm was done and the centre of gravity has since been moved forward which has largely tamed the tip-stall. The model is designed as an FPV platform so no doubt Captain Slow will be fitting his gear into it very soon.

Gentleman Jim has bought a Parkzone Wildcat. Yes I know he’s already got a Parkzone Wildcat but now he has a new one. Jim bought the first one at one of the Blackbushe model shows a few years ago for a much reduced price.If I remember correctly it was just the foam parts, no motor, esc, or servos were with it so he sourced those himself. It flew very well right from the start and has served him well despite having a few minor hiccups along the way. When Jim asked me to launch it in July I thought he’d done some general tidying up and repainted it but apparently not, he’d seen that Sussex Model Centre had some new ones so he splashed the cash and treated himself.I believe this one was Plug and Play, so it came complete with everything except the receiver and battery. The motor is described as a 480 size brushless outrunner of 960kV and it has plenty of power for the 975mm span model. So how does it fly? Er…just the same as Jim’s first one really, very nicely indeed. See it in action in this month’s video.

Dougal Entendre has put together another model to further his FPV flying experience, a Skyartec Skyfun. It’s Dougal’s second Skyfun and the cockpit is from his original one which has been kicking around in his loft for a few years. You can tell it’s old, that yellow tinted canopy isn’t tinted, it’s just old! Following the cutting of Captain Slow’s hand Dougal was concerned about launching the pusher motored Skyfun safely so he decided to make a take-off dolly. He spotted a child’s toy trolley at the local tip, dug deep, and parted with a whole £1 to secure it.After many long hours of engineering design he finished up with this, the All-Terrain Tranny Agate Trolley Dolly: Does it work? No! You can see the attempts in the video, so far none have been successful but it’s provided loads of fun for us. However, the Skyfun hand launches perfectly well and nobody has caught the propeller although Captain Slow hasn’t launched it yet… One of the trolley dolly attempts knocked the FPV camera off it’s mounting so Dougal taped it out of harm’s way inside the discoloured canopy but found the view wasn’t quite clear enough to fly FPV!The Skyfun flies well, it’s fast, agile, and much nicer for FPV than the Tomahawk. But Dougal has to be careful when chasing other models, the speed difference can be great as he found when he almost bashed Basher Bob’s Calmato.Don’t worry Dougal, for a small fee Patch News will blame Basher Bob (or anyone else you’d like) every time.

Chuck Berry has built a Sukhoi SU-27 and joined the foamboard jet jockeys. Well almost, he had a problem with the linkages prior to flight so it hasn’t actually flown yet but Chuck has since sorted the problem so it will fly very soon. The mid-motored jets have highlighted the fact that many people are unsure which way round the prop should be mounted. The golden rule is that the lettering on the always faces the nose of the plane. It doesn’t matter if the prop is a tractor or pusher, or if the motor is at the front, middle, or back of the model, the lettering ALWAYS faces the nose. The direction of rotation obviously depends on the type of prop but the golden rule never changes.

Chuck has busily accumulating a set of FPV gear and has bought one of these, a ZOHD Dart from Banggood.It looks like it could be a bit of a handful to me but it gets good reviews so I hope I’m wrong.

I’ve also been flying a new model in July, a Volantex Ranger 1600 that came from HobbyKing. I bought one for the big raffle a few months ago and was impressed by what I saw in the box. It has a plastic fuselage and foam wings and tail, reinforced with carbon spars. The 1600mm wings simply clip in place and are easy to remove for transport. The model comes ready fitted with a 2212 1400kV motor, a 30A esc and four 9g servos so all you need is a receiver and battery. The suggested lipo is a 3 cell 2200mAh but I’m using some old 3 cell 4000mAh packs and, reading the reviews, some people are using even bigger packs. It’s designed to take FPV gear but is an excellent flier anyway if you don’t want to fly FPV and will do all the usual aerobatics. I fitted mine with an undercarriage as I want to try some FPV landings with wheels (I’ve only belly landed FPV up to now). Adding the UC was an easy mod, I simply cut a hole in the underside, fitted a ply plate with hot melt glue, and screwed a wire undercarriage to the plate. It works well and the Ranger is good for touch and go’s as well as loops, rolls, inverted flight and so on as you can see in the video. I haven’t had a chance to fit the FPV gear yet but will get it done in the next few days.The Ranger is available in various sizes, HK only list the 1600 and 2000 versions but Banggood also have them with 1200, 1380, and 1980 wingspans, and those the last three come fitted with undercarriages included.

Woody got bored with his old Wot Trainer trainer when he damaged it a while ago and passed it over to Captain Slow who has now repaired it and re-motored it with an AXI 2820/10 that he’s has since about 2003.The model needs some nose weight so Captain Slow uses two 4 cell 2200mAh packs in parallel giving a capacity of 4400mAh. With an 11×7 propeller the motor pulls 40A and produces 620W. The Wot Trainer has a 1660mm span and a 270mm chord so there’s plenty of wing area to carry it’s 3kg weight and it will cruise around at half throttle.

Dougal snapped this photo of 1066 at a flying session that I missed. Later I asked 1066 what had happened and he said the battery suddenly died when he was prop-hanging at very low level. Well he would say that wouldn’t he!

I don’t have much in the way of flying shots this month but here’s an FPV one from Dougal which he describes as a close encounter of the inverted kind, one from Captain Slow of Dougal’s new Edge, and finally a Paritech Viper that has absolutely nothing to do with the club but I found it on another website and I simply love it!

Video time now and this month it includes contributions by Dougal Entendre, Captain Slow, and 1066. Please watch it full screen, it so much better with small models flying around:If the video won’t play please click HERE

When I returned from holiday, my suitcase didn’t arrive in the baggage area so I went to the lost luggage office.
I explained to the woman there that my case hadn’t turned up on the carousel. She smiled sweetly and told me not to worry because they were trained professionals and that I was in good hands. 

“Now,” she asked, “has your plane arrived yet?”

Colin Cowplain

Patch News – June 2019

Well June has come and gone but if anyone was expecting summer they probably missed it. We did have some hot days at the end of the month but it was always quite windy. Not really what we would hope for in ‘flaming June’, maybe July will be better. The bullocks returned halfway through the month but they hardly ever bothered us.They have learnt not to touch the fence and if we put one round the pits area they avoid that even though most of the time it’s not actually turned on. Captain Slow’s favourite (number 73 that featured in the caption comp) has become even more friendly and actually wanders over to see him and be stroked now. Two words John: Beef burger. The patch is in great condition and has been mown regularly by the FARTS. Dougal Entendre seems to be taking things a little too seriously and was genuinely seen trimming around the box with a pair of scissors!

I’ll start the June report with an incident that actually happened on 31st May. This photo shows rather unusual damage to Dougal’s FPV Tomahawk flying wing. Note the chewed up aileron and fin and lack of propeller.Dougal had been following John Warren’s Sunday Flyer, a nice steady biplane that’s easy to follow but it’s fairly slow and Dougal inadvertently overtook it. The trouble with FPV is that once you overtake something you have no idea where it is, you can only see forwards, so when he throttled back to allow the Sunday Flyer to get in front again he didn’t realise he was in effect reversing into it! The impact did nothing to John’s model but its propeller inflicted the damage you can see on the Tomahawk. The FPV video captured the action and this photo taken from the video shows the moment the prop came off! I’ve rotated the photo 180 degrees, the model was actually inverted. The Tomahawk spun in to the deck, fortunately without further damage, but John’s Sunday Flyer carried serenely on as if nothing had happened. You can see it all happening in this month’s video.

Staying with FPV for a while Captain Slow re-positioned the FPV gear in his TwinStar after the initial couple of flights in May to make it a more user friendly layout, it was all a bit fiddly to access before but it’s much better now. The TwinStar has had dozens of non-FPV flights with no problems and seemed an obvious choice for a first FPV plane. The model is unusual in that it has old fashioned brushed motors rather than the now normal brushless outrunners.  That means it also has to have speed controllers suitable for brushed motors, again rather old fashioned items. When Captain Slow started flying it with FPV gear he suddenly found he was losing control and it seemed likely that it was just him not being used to flying with goggles although he thought something was wrong.Having come down near Harper’s Oak on one flight, fortunately with no damage, he asked me to take it up. All was ok at first but when I got a bit more adventurous I suddenly lost control. I throttled back and regained control but when I opened the throttle again I lost control again and the TwinStar crashed. It was damaged but repairable but we couldn’t work out what was wrong until Captain Slow did some tests at home and discovered that the BEC in the speed controller could only handle about 1A so as soon as more load was put on the servos the radio shutdown until the load was reduced. It’s odd that the problem had never showed up before fitting the FPV gear, we can only think that the extra load plus probably more use of the servos and higher throttle settings for FPV tipped the balance. Pre-FPV Captain Slow only ever really stooged around very gently, as is his wont, so presumably he never hit the limit of the BEC. Anyway he’s now putting together another model, a Sonic Modell Mini Skyhunter which is designed for FPV.This was how it was coming along mid-June, should be ready sometime in July…2025.

Iven has been splashing out lately…quite literally, he’s bought himself an Ares Gamma along with a set of matching floats and also a set of floats for his E-Flite Apprentice. Iven keeps a boat on the Thames that he visits most weekends during the summer and he thought floats would be an ideal way of flying while he’s there. Bearing in mind that he’s only just learnt to fly and passed his ‘A’ cert the floats have so far proved a step too far for his abilities but he’s getting there. In the meantime he’s been flying ashore, alongside the Thames, mostly successfully. He’s found that the Gamma is really only suitable for light winds and it becomes difficult to control in much of a breeze.He’s also bought a couple of the tiny E-Flite AS3X (3 axis stabilisation) models, the latest one being a UMX Timber.It’s 700mm wingspan, has the usual 4 channel control plus flaps yet only weighs 121g (4.3oz). It has a ‘brick’ style 6 channel rx/gyro/esc/2 servos in the fuselage, lightweight aileron servos, and a centrally mounted flap servo. The radio and 3000kv motor are powered by a 2 cell 280 mAh lipo battery which also powers the LED NAV lights, landing lights, wing-tip strobes and beacons so it should be ok for night flying. This tiny model has the lot!It also has optional plug-in leading edge slats just in case the flaps don’t slow it down enough for you.

Of course landing in a tree isn’t something that only happens to beginners…is it Dougal?!Dougal’s incident happened one very showery Sunday morning when some of us dashed from the barn during a brief dry spell and flew just east of the patch. I’d just pointed out to the others that we had positioned ourselves directly downwind of a tree when Dougal did his signature low inverted pass straight into the tree! Once we’d all stopped laughing 1066 went into tree climbing mode and managed to safely retrieve the undamaged Sticky. We’ve had Harper’s Oak for many years, now it seems we also have Dougal’s Deciduous!

I was away for a few days in early June but Captain Slow took some photos and video of some new models brought along by Newbie Nick and Matt Takhar. They both have Precision Aerobatics Addictions and when I asked Nick about them he said his is the larger Addition X finished in green covering and Matt has a little pink one! The Addiction X is 1270mm span and is powered by Thrust 40 motor connected to a 45A esc and a 3 cell 2200mAh lipo. Matt’s little pink one is 1000mm span and uses a Thrust 20 motor, a 30A esc and a 3 cell 2200mAh lipo. Looking at Captain Slow’s video they both performed very well, I’ve included some snippets in this month’s video.

Matt’s other new model is an Extreme Flight Laser EXP V2. It’s 60” span and according to the website it weighs around 5.5 – 6.0lbs. Matt hasn’t sent me any details yet but I know he’s swanned off to New York for a few days muttering some pathetic excuse about work so I suppose he can be forgiven. The stock set-up uses a Torque 4016/500 MKII Outrunner, Airboss 80 esc, a Xoar 16 x 7 prop, and a 6S 3300- 4000mAh lipo. I forward to seeing  the new models myself and will hopefully get some more info and video soon.

Captain Slow had an exciting moment while flying his Extreme one morning, there was a sudden bang and the motor ripped out! He managed to land without further damage and retrieved all the parts that came off.The model comes with the motor pre-installed, clamped in place between two pieces of foam but Captain Slow found a distinct lack of glue around the area, a problem that he has now rectified with copious amounts of sticky stuff!

Norwegian Nick can always be relied on to build interesting models and his latest is an English Electric Lightning. This is what Nick says about it: I had some scraps of Depron left over from earlier projects so I looked through some old Q&EF mags and found this Lightning and thought I would have a go as you do. It’s built from a free plan in the July 2009 mag designed by James Rutter. It’s a profile twin edf Lightning with a wingspan 16in, length 25in and weighs 8 1/2 oz. The two fans are GWS 40mm run by a pair of Feigao motors. The escs are 10amp run off a single 850mAh 3s lipo.
After having an intermittent power problem I found that the cable to one of the speed controllers was hanging by a thread. Repaired now and works fine. Also I have swapped everything over so the battery is on the right hand side which I hope will stop the left turn on launch. 
As Nick mentions there was a dodgy esc connection and when hand launched the model went to the left and plonked down in the grass. Not sure how much of it was caused by the connection and how much was due to most of the weight being on the left hand side of the fuselage. The connection problem prevented a second try that day but I’m sure it will be fine next time out, should look great in the air.

The foamboard fun continues and both Woody and Bob the Builder have put together new Sukhoi SU-27’s. We’ve been enjoying lots of close formation flying with up to four in the air at once and of course the inevitable touches sometimes occur. I’ve also managed to land mine on top of Captain Slow’s a couple of times!But the foamboard is remarkably strong and with the mid-mounted motors the props rarely hit anything so virtually no damage is done. Although Captain Slow did manage to make a few cuts in my Sukhoi the other day…the swine!

Early in June decided I needed an FPV model that was a bit more taxing to fly than my Sukhoi. The Sukhoi was a great choice for learning to fly FPV but I wanted something that was a bit faster and not quite so easy to handle and land. Looking around my vastly overcrowded model room I spotted my Delta, built from Correx several years ago as one of the annual club builds. It was always a good flier and quite fast but equally, being a delta, lands reasonably slowly. As it was built from around £2.50’s worth of Correx and has had hundreds of flights it’s also regarded as disposable, perfect for FPV in fact. So I swapped the FPV gear into it, the main difficulty being that having the motor at the front meant I had to fit the camera out on the wing to avoid looking through the propeller. That hasn’t proved to be a problem and I quite like being able to see the prop spinning (or not) through the goggles. Ever since Dougal and I started flying FPV we have been hoping for a day with low cloud to explore but it hasn’t happened…until one morning late in June. The Delta climbs rapidly and the cloud was low so I quickly reached it and found it to be quite dense, I could skirt along the underside but felt the model would disappear if I entered it properly. Spotter Captain Slow said he could still see the model easily enough so there weren’t any concerns. I did the same on the second flight with no problems but it was really the wrong sort of cloud, a bit like driving in fog.By the time of the third flight the cloud had lifted and there were areas of blue sky so I didn’t think I’d be able to reach the clouds but a couple of minutes into the flight I decided to give it a go. I soon reached some gloriously fluffing bits of cloud and was able to fly above some small patches and see blue sky above me and bits of the ground below me, great stuff. I got tempted by a lovely looking cloud formation a little further on and headed for it. Captain Slow was dripping on about me being a long way off but what the heck, I could see perfectly!A few seconds later he said he’d lost sight of me so I throttled back and came down out of the cloud. I still had a perfect view on the goggles but there was one tiny problem, I hadn’t got a clue where I was! I circled aimlessly, looking for something I recognised, aware that the timer was now telling me I had two minutes of battery left. I spotted some unrecognisable buildings and knew they weren’t anywhere near where I should be so I headed away from them. Now Captain Slow was telling me to climb in the hope that he might be able to see me but to add to my problems I could see the motor was stopping now and again, presumably the radio going into failsafe. The picture on the goggles was still good but I was getting yellow and red signal indicators instead of green so I knew I was at the limit of the FPV range. When I saw two red indicators I turned to try to get a better signal while desperately searching for a landmark. I tried to take notice of what I could see, the rounded end of a valley, a couple of circles in cut crop, a telegraph pole, a field boundary, and suddenly nothing! The inevitable happened, I saw the motor stop and the goggles lost signal as the plane was very low and heading steeply towards the deck. It’s all in the video…There were only three of us flying that morning, me, Captain Slow, and Geoff Berry. After a quick recap of where the model was last seen we headed up to the masts where the gliders fly, it seemed the most likely area to search. We spread out in different directions, I was looking for the landmarks I’d seen from the air and headed off north along the South Downs Way. Things started to get familiar, there was the rounded end of a valley, cut crop, a line of telegraph poles, a field boundary…and an undamaged Delta sat of top of the crop, phew!Looking at Google Maps later it shows the model land 1.16km from the patch, nothing wrong with the range then.The map is looking due north, the masts are over towards the right. Lesson learnt, listen to the spotter and don’t get carried away by a perfect picture on the goggles. Captain Slow says I should be renamed Colin CloudPlane.

Photo and video contributions this month come from Captain Slow, Dougal Entendre,  Gentleman Jim, and Gorgeous Gary. As well as models flying this month I’ve included some photos from the D-Day 75 Anniversary:

Video time now, please watch it full screen, it so much better with small models flying around:

If the video won’t play for you please click HERE


Terrified passenger to stewardess “How often do planes crash?”
Stewardess “Just the once!”

Colin Cowplain