Patch News – October 2020

Patch News – October 2020

STOP PRESS: A new lockdown has just been announced, I think that will mean no flying after 4th Nov for a month.

October has come and gone, the clocks have gone back and winter has blown in. The patch has been mown a couple of times and part of it was rolled to flatten out the worst bumps. The poor weather has meant fewer opportunities to fly although the hardier members managed to fly several times in October including this dodgy looking pair: I heard that later that day Page Boy tore the wheels off Richard’s Wot-4 whilst ‘helping him’ to land! Who told me? The clue is in the photo. Since the sheep moved out in late September the field has remained animal free but there are some young and inquisitive bullocks in the lower fields so I expect they’ll be joining us before too long.

During October Bob the Builder decided to take the plunge and try his first EDF. He chose an Arrows Models Marlin. It’s a very pretty EPO foam model with a wingspan of 910mm. It’s PNP so Bob just had to screw a few bits together and program the transmitter. It comes fitted with a 64mm 11 bladed fan which is driven by a 2840 3250Kv motor, a 40A esc, and 8 x 9g digital servos which control the ailerons, elevator, rudder, and flaps. All the purchaser has to fit is a 5 channel receiver and a 4 cell lipo in the 2200-2700mAh range. It has a tricycle undercarriage which can easily be removed if you prefer to hand launch and belly land the Marlin. Even the stickers are pre-applied so it’s a very complete package for around £150. Bob asked me to test fly the Marlin and I found it flew well and handled nicely. Using full flap for landing slowed the Marlin up well and I quickly found it was best to keep a little power and speed on to stop it bouncing on touchdown. Bob had a few minutes stick time once it was in the air and was confident enough to take it off himself later but he has yet to land it. All in all a very nice EDF, good choice Bob.

While Bob was in his modelling shed working on the Marlin he also got round to repairing his HobbyKing Walrus. The Walrus had been damaged when Bob let WingCo Winkworth have a go with it and, as Bob says, he let WingCo get too low before snatching back the transmitter. The nose of the Walrus was smashed back as far as the wing leading edge but the rest of the model was undamaged so Bob simply grafted on a new balsa nose and fitted a 2836 1400Kv motor on the front. Can barely tell the difference… Well ok, it’s not the prettiest repair I’ve seen but it does the job and the Walrus now flies as well as ever. Here are before and after pictures:

During October John Warren very kindly offered his crash damaged Wot-4 complete with servos free of charge to any PAM member. I believe the model is actually a Student 64E Intermediate Trainer from HobbyKing, not a Wot-4 but it seems pretty much identical and the manual, which can be downloaded from the HK website, is actually the Wot-4 manual. But I’ve no idea what the 64 in the name stands for as the wingspan is 48”.Chas suggested it would make an ideal second plane for Charlie and at around the same time some of Gentleman Jim’s gear became available so I took on the repairs and fitted one of Jim’s receivers. I had a spare Propdrive 3536 910Kv motor and 40A speed controller which I thought would be ideal for the Wot-4. The Kv is a bit low on 3 cells but I decided that with a 12 x 6 propeller it should be fine. I didn’t have the remains of the cowl to copy so I just left the model without one, finishing the fuselage at the front bulkhead. It turned out that even with a 3300mAh lipo it was a bit tail heavy so I had to screw a lump of lead to the bulkhead which does little to enhance the looks.Apparently the Wot-4 has a ply box on the bulkhead to bring the motor further forward and help with the centre of gravity but never having owned a Wot-4 I didn’t realise that until later. The repair job wasn’t too difficult and while I was doing it I took the opportunity to make sure the front bulkhead and the undercarriage mounting were strong enough to withstand some hard landings. Along with the receiver Charlie’s mum Nadine bought a Hitec transmitter, some 3300mAh 3 cell lipos and a suitable lipo charger, all of which came from Gentleman Jim.So young Charlie now has an excellent complete set-up and I’m sure that Jim will be pleased that the equipment is being put to good use by a young newcomer to the hobby. When I did the test flight the powertrain turned out to be just right for Charlie, it has enough power for cruise around and do some gentle aerobatics but it’s not screaming around the sky even at full throttle, and flight times are a safe 6 minutes. Charlie really likes the plane and he’s being flying it well right from his first go with it. He has already done several complete flights including the take-offs and landings without breaking anything. You can see Charlie in action in two parts of this month’s video.

OK, it’s confession time. All who know me will agree that I’m a bit of smart-a**e, always ready with an insult, quick comeback, and the first to take the mickey out of others. So you’ll be pleased to hear that I made a really stupid mistake when I put my foamboard Yak-130 together. When I posted a review with photos on the Banggood website somebody pointed out that the wingtip mounted missiles are supposed to be folded in half before being attached. So it was scalpel time. I cut them off, glued them folded over on themselves, and then stuck them back on the tips.It looks so much better now. I can’t believe I got it so wrong, what an idiot…Doh!

A couple of months ago I pictured the remains of John Warren’s Albatross which had suffered a mid-flight structural failure. The model was beyond repair but, not to be defeated, John has got a replacement Albatross well under way. Well done John it’s looking good so far, there’s a lot of work gone into it already, and I love all the planking.

For one October flying session we were joined by Ben Smith as a guest flier. He flew the Dynam Hurricane that he had flown on his previous visit and also a Parkzone Spitfire. Unfortunately I forgot to take any photos at the field so I asked him for some photos and info on the models: The Spit is standard Parkzone Spit with E-flite retracts installed. Flies just so on a 2200 3s with the only gripe being the ground handling (or lack of it) which is due to the smartie-sized wheels. A little shove on take-off and she leaps up fine though with guaranteed nose over on landing!As for the Hurricane… I swapped out the supplied esc for a 50a Beatles sbec unit and run it on 2 x 2200mAh 4s packs. This did require some trimming of the foam to accommodate the two batteries side by side but everyone I spoke to who owns one has added lead to the front – I’ve tried to make the extra weight do something for me! Seems to have worked as I can easily get 10 minutes from the packs and the extra weight certainly helps punch through the air better and achieve smoother flying.
I also have swapped out the supplied wing leds, which were like candles, to some spare “strip” leds I had lying around and covered the lenses with thin paper to hide. These are connected to a brushed esc running behind a 12v regulator which allows me to switch them on and off remotely. The regulator is there to try and avoid burning the brushed esc out which has held up so far… 
The retracts are run on separate channels with delays built in to achieve the staggered effect and lighten the load on esc bec, but the retracts units need replacing as they simply haven’t held up and one has failed completely on the last outing, requiring pretty much zero airspeed to pull the wheel all the way up! Thanks Ben. Woody has just ordered one of these so now he knows what mods to make. You can see Ben’s models flying in this month’s video.

With colder weather on its way, and knowing that cold hands aren’t conducive with good flying, Dwayne Pipe decided to add a heater to his Turnigy transmitter muff. HobbyKing used to sell universal heaters that were suitable for heating transmitter muffs, lipos, or model car tyres but they aren’t available now so Dwayne  had to design his own. Dwayne bought a 12v heat plate from Banggood and added an on/off switch and warning light so he can leave a 3 cell lipo connected and simply turn it on when heat is required. The heat plate is actually made for heating beehives to warm the bees over winter and cut down on the amount of honey they eat so if you see him buzzing around…Dwayne cannabalised an old Spektrum transmitter for the on/off switch (at last someone has found a use for all those old Spektrum transmitters!) and mounted the assembly on a liteply base attached by Velcro, to insulate the heater from the plastic muff underneath and to be able to remove the heater if it’s not required. Dwayne flies mode 3 so has positioned the heat plate under his left hand but the heat warms the whole of the muff quite effectively. The plate heats up to around 40C and pulls 1A so a 2200mAh battery should last for a flying session.

I made a new best friend during October, no need to be jealous, it’s EverBuild Superglue Debonder. Don’t pretend you’ve never dripped superglue of your trousers and found it impossible to remove. I’ve previously used Loctite Glue Remover which is a gel that you leave on overnight before washing off. It worked reasonably well but often needed a second overnight application and it also removed all the colour from the spot so at around £4 for a 5ml tube I was unimpressed. The EverBuild Debonder costs just £1.85 for 20ml from Toolstation and works in 30 seconds.It’s a thin liquid so soaks into material and I needed several applications but it’s fast and works well. Being a debonder it’s intended to undo misaligned joints and so on but I’ve found it excellent at removing glue blobs from clothes and glue runs from Solarfilm etc. Apparently it’s also brilliant at removing glue blobs from kitchen worktops, stainless steel sinks, and vinyl flooring without any damage but obviously I wouldn’t know about that…

Dougal Entendre has been playing again and has put together a SonicModell Binary. Banggood describe the Binary as a 1200mm Wingspan EPO Twin Motor Multirole Aerial Survey FPV Platform Mapping RC Airplane. Gosh!This is what SonicModell says about it: This is the first time that SonicModell has released a plane based on requirements from private and government organizations to the hobby community. That’s right, Binary wasn’t born for the FPV enthusiasts, but for the people that fly every day UAVs for a living. Many of those organizations were flying several type of airframes (usually extremely large) and approached us with a list of requirements for a plane that can not only be used for their missions, but also to train new pilots. They needed something easier to carry, fully featured, and with lower risk in case of a crash. Yes, huge, heavy birds they do their job, but in the words of some of the pro pilots: “We do a lot of our missions over urban terrain… if an 8Kg UAV hits your head while you’re walking to work, your day will be ruined… Having said that, we cannot compromise performance and features. They all should be there”. Having that in mind and for the lapse of one year, we created several prototypes, until we got the perfect balance in every area without compromises. As we’re writing this, Binary has been adopted as a quick deployment UAV by 4 different government organizations, 3 private companies (Mapping, Security survey and Sea life watch). According to their records, in total, Binary has more than 375 successful missions (with no planes lost so far), hundreds of hours of training for rookie pilots and has been proven in the hardest conditions. Now it’s time to release her to the FPV community. That’s another Gosh then! Here’s what Dougal says about it: I bought the kit plus the lighting set and undercarriage set. I figured I could get the motors and propellers cheaper than the set offered by Banggood, and ended up buying a set of 4 Racerstar motors (so I’ve got a couple of spares!), same spec as the SonicModell ones except 1000kV instead of 1100. Even so, there’s tons of power and I worry that the 8045 3-blade props are overworking them, so I’m experimenting by chopping half an inch off every blade of a second pair (and rebalancing carefully!). I’ve run them in the garage but not tried it in the air yet. I’ve replaced the steerable nose-wheel because the leg bent and it stripped the output head of the servo (I think the servo itself is OK). The replacement leg is sprung so less likely to bend – I think it was one of the main legs from my Sportjet, which looks and flies much better without U/C. I think the Binary may be based on the full size Tecnam MRI, though that only has 2-bladed props. As you can see from the shot of the internals, it’s quite a busy receiver! I’ve avoided using any Y-leads, so the 12-ch Rx has outputs to the 7 servos (4 in the wing, elevator, rudder + steerable nose-wheel), two ESCs, and connection to the lighting controller. It’ll be even worse if I mount the FPV camera on a servo. I’m on plan C with transmitters, and have gone back to the Devo F12E.It’s quite big and heavy due in no small part to the FPV screen, but it’s got much better daylight visibility. Anyway the Binary flew very well. I had to wind in a load of up trim after the first flight, probably because I got the pushrod length wrong when I first did the linkages. It’s got tons of power from the 4s battery, and after 6 minute flights I was landing with about 50% remaining in the 3300mAh packs, and 60% still in the 3700mAh one. Quite fast, but capable of going much slower with the flaps down. Not surprisingly it pitches up when the flaps are dropped, so I’m going to mix in some down elevator. It didn’t steer too well after the first landing as the patch is quite bumpy, but I did manage to taxi it after flights 2 and 3. Looking forward to setting it up for FPV. I thought I’d fly it LOS (line of sight) first though as it’s quite a good looking model, and I wanted to see it flying with the lights on. Dougal’s Binary features in this month’s video where you’ll see that it flies extremely well. Sadly the lights don’t show in the video but when Dougal flew it on a very overcast day later in the month they showed up well.

Away from the patch and on a personal note for a moment, many of you will know that I had my 70th birthday in September (yes I know it’s impossible to believe I’m that old) and my daughter bought me a WW2 Dogfight Duo simulator experience for two which I enjoyed with my son on 5th October. It turned out to be ME109 and Spitfire simulators with a dividing screen between them and the pilots try to shoot each other down for thirty minutes and then swap planes for another thirty minutes. It was great fun and the simulators were surprisingly realistic. My wife Doreen took some photos and videos so if you want to see what it was it was like watch the video below.

My son bought me a 30 minute flight in a two seat Spitfire with Boultbee Flight Academy which I took on 20th October from Solent Airport Daedalus. Percy Vears had a one hour flight with Boultbee from Goodwood airfield back in June and hopefully the club will get to hear more about his flight later, maybe when club meetings resume. My flight took me east past Portsmouth harbour, then over to Ryde and west along the north coast of the Isle of Wight, then we dived down for a tight turn around the Needles, and back along the south coast of the island. I was able to take the controls for a while before we headed north for some aerobatics over the Solent, a victory roll, barrel roll, wingover, and a loop before returning to land back at Solent Airport, an amazing experience that I’ll never forget. I wasn’t allowed to film during the flight (although Boultbee make a 3D cockpit video of all flights and I’ll get a copy of my flight soon) but my family shot some video from the ground which you can view below.

 

Kryten didn’t manage to get any flying shots this month so here’s a selection of his photos from previous months:

Video time now, this month with additional video from Captain Slow, Dougal Entendre, and Charlie’s mum Nadine. Please watch the video full screen, it’s so much better with small models flying around.If the video won’t play for you please click HERE

The air traffic controller cleared a small Cessna for landing but as the Cessna turned to final approach an airliner called in ‘over the marker’ (5 miles from the airport).
The Cessna was only about a half mile from the runway, and the controller knew he could land and clear the runway well before the airliner would land, so he cleared the airliner to land as well.
A few seconds later, the Cessna pilot asked the controller, “How far behind me is that 737?”
Before the controller could reply the airline pilot keyed his mike and in a deep bass voice said, “Don’t look back…!”

Stay Safe
Colin Cowplain

Patch News – September 2020

October has arrived and the Covid crisis continues. As you are all aware the Government restrictions were tightened in September so we have reduced the number at the patch to six again. The booking system remains in place so if you want to fly please email John Wheeley to book a slot. All members can view the bookings online to see who and when people are going but in order to keep control of the system it’s not possible for members to add themselves.

Reading the BMFA guidance it seems we could probably increase the numbers if the club does a risk assessment etc. but the feeling in the committee at present is that we shouldn’t be trying to use ‘wriggle room’. As far as I am aware no members or any of their families have contracted Covid, let’s do our best to keep it that way.

The sheep arrived in early September as farmer George had predicted but we were surprised to see there were so many, George told us there were over 500 of the woolly wonders! They did a great job of ‘mowing’ the whole field for us but of course they also fertilised every single bit of it at the same time so it’s slightly mucky.Never mind, it’s not as bad as the larger deposits that the bullocks leave for us. We were concerned that the electric fence might not stop the sheep, their thick fleeces insulate them well, but our fears were unfounded and the patch remained sheep free. They have now been moved out again and the field should remain animal free for a while.

The patch is in excellent conditions and has been mown regularly by members of the FARTS, one of whom is Kryten:As we are now into autumn the mowing duties will reduce in frequency but so will the flying opportunities and September brought some very windy days although there were a few nice days as well so we flew several times.

On the PAM WhatsApp group in mid-August Page Boy asked if anyone was interested in buying his Volantex Phoenix 1600 electric glider. I’d been vaguely thinking about selling my little Boeing Stearman as I rarely fly it so I suggested doing a straight swap. Page Boy agreed we exchanged models a few days later. I was away on holiday at the beginning of September when I received some aerial shots of the Stearman from Page Boy that either Richard Osborn or his daughter Nicole had taken. I said “Don’t crash it” and he confessed that he’d already done so! Page Boy said that the Stearman failed to get away from the first take-off attempt but it must have survived undamaged as there were lots of photos of it in the air. Maybe he’d never flown a draggy biplane before.

I had done the maiden flight of the Phoenix for Page Boy when he first put it together so I knew it was a nice flier. On my return from holiday I fitted one of my receivers and flew the Phoenix. But about two minutes into the first flight there was suddenly no power and I realised the motor had failed. Page Boy said my 15 day warranty had just expired! When I examined the motor I found that the wire insulation had burnt through and the motor was dead. It’s a known problem on those motors so I replaced it with a spare Propdrive motor I had in my spares box and it’s now back flying again. It’s a great flier, more aerobatic than the Phoenix 2000 but not such a good glider of course.
Now if I could just work out how to turn the speed controller brake on to stop the folding prop from windmilling…

Along with the Stearman photos there were also some of Richard’s new model, a pretty Cirrus SR22T from E-flite. The Cirrus is 1500mm span foamie that comes in a Plug’n’Play package and is equipped with the Spektrum SAFE technology. This is what the E-flite website says about the full-size and model: Cirrus Aircraft has blazed a trail for the future of single-engine aircraft by developing modern safety, performance and amenity standards pilots crave. Generation 6 of their SR22T carries on the innovation hot-streak. As a result, more pilots can consider personal air travel the practical everyday commuting solution predicted by technology experts decades ago. The E-flite® Cirrus SR22T 1.5m park flyer is an officially licensed replica inspired by the original to deliver rich detail and a host of modern functional features that make scale flight an uncompromised thrill ride for more RC pilots than ever before.

The E-flite® Cirrus SR22T 1.5m celebrates the general aviation marvel with a scale model that’s easy to appreciate and fun to fly for a wide range of pilots. Like the full-scale airplane, this officially licensed E-flite replica is generously appointed with features that will get you in the air and flying in style. The two-piece, plug-in wing is equipped with slotted flaps, lights and a convenient Hands-Free Servo Connection System. Functional interior cabin and exterior navigation LED lighting combine with its modern trim scheme for authenticity that’s easy to appreciate from any angle. Rugged tricycle landing gear and steerable nose gear utilize over-size wheels to make take-offs and landings on grass fields or paved surfaces seem effortless while matching fairings and wheel pants complete the luxurious outline. Tinted cabin windows, a pilot figure and detailed cockpit take the scale experience even deeper. Plus, the powerful brushless motor and three-blade propeller deliver plenty of power to perform scale manoeuvres and sport aerobatics with ease.The Cirrus comes with an E-flite BL10 1250Kv outrunner,, an 11×7.5 three bladed prop, and a 40A speed controller. There are six 9g servos operating ailerons, elevator, rudder, flaps, and steerable nose-wheel. That nose-wheel looks a bit off in the first of the flying photos! Richard is using a 3700mAh 3 cell lipo so should get good long flights. I haven’t seen the Cirrus yet but it looks really nice in the photos and Page Boy (who did the maiden flight) said it flew extremely well and with the flaps down it landed at walking pace so is an ideal second model for Richard.

We has a visitor to the patch in September, Ben Smith, who contacted me via the club Facebook page and asked if it was ok to come along and see what we were all about. Unfortunately I was away on the Sunday he came but others took a photo and some video of Ben flying his Hawker Hurricane. It’s a foamie from Dynam and looks to be a good model. It’s 1250mm span, 1003mm long and weighs around 1450g. It comes with a 600Kv brushless outrunner, a 40A esc and a 3 bladed prop. It has worm drive electronic retracts which presumably means they go up and down in a nice scale like manner. Dynam suggest using a 3000mAh 4 cell lipo which should give flights of around 10 minutes.You can see it flying in this month’s video, Ben looks to be a very capable flier and hopes to join the club shortly.

In September I got around to putting together the Yak-130 that I’d bought from Banggood a couple of months ago.I chose it because it has more of a fuselage than the other foamboard models and despite basically being a square foam box I think it looks rather pretty, especially in the air. It didn’t come with any instructions but the method of assembly is pretty similar to the SU-27s & Mig-29s that HobbyKing sell. I used a hot melt glue gun for all the joints that can’t be seen from the outside of the finished model and cyano for the joints that can be seen. Hot melt works well on foamboard but is a bit messy and doesn’t look very good, cyano doesn’t melt the foamboard and seems to work ok but I’m not convinced that it’s as strong as hot melt. You do need to be very careful when using cyano as it’s very easy to spoil the printed coloured finish with just a tiny drop in the wrong place… ask me how I know! The kit includes a carbon tube wing spar and a few pieces of flat carbon strip that fit into pre-cut slots in the wing, tailplane, and fin. The ailerons are cut out but remain attached by the thinnest of foamboard hinges and I didn’t think they’d last long in flight so I used Blenderm tape over the top and I also used Blenderm to attach the elevator. There are pre-cut holes for the servos and all the linkages and control horns are supplied and they all fitted perfectly. There is a ply plate to mount the motor, once fitted the motor can’t be removed without cutting the plate out of the airframe. As with the other foamboards I’ve opened up the propeller slot considerably to reduce the prop noise. I used exactly the same powertrain as I already have in both my SU-27 and Mig-29, a 2306 2200Kv drone motor fitted with a 6×4.5 prop and a 3 cell lipo with a capacity of anything from 1300mAh to 2200mAh. I initially fitted a 25A speed controller I had in my spares box but on the first flight I discovered two problems, firstly that it seems to be in helicopter mode and takes about 5 seconds to power up to full speed, and secondly 25A isn’t enough. Some of the first flight can be seen in this month’s video where you’ll see that the motor suddenly stops due to the speed controller objecting to the high current. Fortunately the Yak was over the patch in a very strong wing at the time so the plane simply floated backwards and landed on the patch! I used a 6×3 prop for the rest of the flights that day and didn’t have any more over current problems but I haven’t been able to change the helicopter mode so I’ve now fitted a 30A controller that is in the correct mode. The Yak flies very well, similar to the other foamboards, although like the Sukhoi, I intend to fit a rudder to improve the handling when in high alpha.

On the morning of Sunday 27th September Dougal Entendre and others were flying and Dougal was making the most of some slope lift with his Multiplex Blizzard in the strong northerly wind. He had a good first flight but this is what he reports happened next: Just prior to launching for the 2nd flight I saw a low helicopter to the North, so I didn’t launch. Just as well, because it came almost directly across the patch at about 3 times house height, towards the IOW. It was a red Gazelle, and fortunately none of us were flying at the time, or there could have been a conflict. Fortunately there was no problem this time and we have never had a problem with full-size aircraft but it serves as a reminder to us all to always be alert and aware of other aviation.

On the last Saturday of September we met up with prospective new members Stephen Crowley and his son Max. There was a very strong wind blowing so we didn’t fly but we checked over the model they have built. It’s a 42” Balsa Basics Cub produced by Vintage Models, a three channel trainer that is described as ‘docile and friendly’.Stephen and Max have made a good job of the model and only a couple of minor issues were pointed out which should be easily sorted. Unfortunately with Covid limiting the numbers at the patch, winter approaching, and Max being at school five and a half days a week it might be a while before Stephen and Max are able to get much flying in but hopefully we’ll be able to get them in the air before too long.

Meanwhile young Charlie has been doing well with his FMS Easy Trainer as has now done several flights from launch to landing with no instructor assistance at all. His first landing was on the patch and it quite rightly earned him a well-deserved round of applause from all in the pits. The strong September winds curtailed some of his flying but he’s coming on in leaps and bounds. His next model will be a secondhand Wot-4 kindly donated by John Warren.

A couple of days ago I saw one of our near neighbours posting leaflets through letterboxes and I was intrigued to know what they were. Would it be raising money for the NHS, a socially distanced coffee morning, an 80th Battle of Britain celebration? In due course he reached our letterbox and I rushed to read it…he’d lost his drone!I’ve removed the chaps name and address to save his embarrassment. I know I shouldn’t laugh but it did strike me as rather funny. I had seen a drone buzzing around a couple of times but couldn’t work out where it was from, now I know! It was extremely windy the day he lost it, much too windy for a lightweight drone, so I’m not surprised the Return to Home function didn’t work, his best bet would to be to follow a line downwind. At the moment I don’t know if he’s got it back or not but I would imagine someone would be kind enough to hand it over if they found it.

Kryten took some more excellent photos this month, here’s a selection for you to enjoy:

Video time now, please watch the video full screen, it’s so much better with small models flying around.If the video won’t play for you please click HERE

An F-4 Phantom pilot at a joint military and civilian airfield requested clearance to take off, but the Air Traffic Controller told him he’d have to hold due to the large amount of civilian traffic.
After several repeatedly impatient requests to take-off by the Phantom pilot the Controller suggested that if the pilot could reach 14,000ft within half the runway length he could take off; otherwise he would have to continue to hold.
To the Controller’s surprise the Phantom pilot acknowledged the tower and began to roll. At the runway halfway marker the aircraft pulled up vertically and kept going until it reached 14,000ft, then levelled off.
The Air Traffic Controller had no option than to hand the Phantom pilot over to Departures and wish him a nice day, since the pilot had met the conditions laid down. He said it was the most amazing thing he’d ever seen!

Colin Cowplain

Patch News – August 2020

I suppose after all that’s happened in 2020 nothing should surprise me but the August weather still came as a bit of a shock. It varied from several days of unbearable heat with the highest temperature recorded for 17 years to 70mph gales and of course several storms. Halfway through the month the bullocks returned to the field but they are mostly not interested in us, requiring just an occasional shooing away if they get too nosey. Late in the month the bullocks went and sheep are expected, a first since we’ve had an electric fence so things might get interesting!There was lots of flying, mainly by the usual regulars, but young Charlie, Chris Winkworth (WingCo), and our latest recruit Richard Osborn all flew several times and seem to be getting on well and are learning fast.

This month we heard the very sad news that Ron Vears’ wife Rosemary passed away on 15th August having bravely fought cancer for more than three years. Rosemary was a great supporter of Ron when he was our club Chairman for three years and she attended many of the club social events where she was always a happy and popular figure. Our thoughts are with Ron and we hope to see him flying with us again soon.

Several new models were flown during August, and the first I’ll feature shocked us all when it eventually made an appearance after about three years of building. Yes, Captain Slow’s Splot (or should it be called Splate?) has flown!It’s pretty much a standard Splot although Captain Slow has fitted ‘normal’ wingtips rather than the usual Splot endplates, thus increasing the span from 36” to 1m. The weight is 35ozs without the lipo. He is using a 3536 1000kv motor that he salvaged from his Durafly Ugly Stick and a 40A esc from a Wot4 Foam-E. Powered by a 2200mAh 3 cell lipo it swings an 11 x 5.5 prop and only pulls around 23A so the Captain should get decent flight times. He has stuck to the original single centre mounted servo on the ailerons and soldered up his own rock solid undercarriage. After such a long wait, tales of woe, problems with various types of covering and more, the flight was an anti-climax, it just flew as it should with just a little trim needed. I think it will become a firm favourite although maybe it’s a bit too quick for Captain Slow’s sedentary ways! You can see some of the first flight in this month’s video.

Page Boy first flew his Slec Fun Fly on 31st July, too late for the last Patch News. Page Boy says the laser cut kit was perfect and, although he was surprised to see so many lite-ply parts, the final weight came out at 4lbs which is fine. He is using a Turnigy G25 motor fitted with a 12 x 6 propeller and a 60A Hobbywing speed controller all powered by a 4 cell 2650mAh lipo. Page Boy originally bought some Futaba S3003 servos on eBay only to discover that they were fakes so he binned them and bought some standard sized metal geared ones from 4-Max instead.The covering is HobbyKing green and white film and he intends to add some trim later. I think the ‘cockpit’ needs to be black, it would look much nicer. The first flight went well and Page Boy seemed very happy with the performance.

Page Boy also flew a Wingnetic that he won in a club raffle ages ago but has only just got round to putting together. The maiden flight went well, in fact Page Boy said the Wingnetic flew better than he had expected, excellent.

When WingCo first came to see us he brought along a model that he had built. We checked it over and declined to fly it until it had been fitted with ailerons as we didn’t rate it’s chances very highly with just rudder and elevator controls. WingCo duly went away and fitted ailerons as suggested and also a rather large castoring tailwheel.Dougal Entendre was given the dubious honour of doing the first flight which proved ‘interesting’! Initially Dougal had trouble getting the model off the ground (he blames the tailwheel) and once it was in the air he had trouble trimming the ailerons. He soon realised the ailerons weren’t working as they should so quickly landed and then discovered that the linkage to the port wing aileron had come undone. Dougal did well to get it down safely without any damage so with the problems sorted it should be fine next time out. WingCo is also putting a trainer together.

Kryten captured this great shot of Dougal’s FPV Skyfun whizzing past John Warren’s Jocasta. “Coming through”!Dougal also captured some nice air-to-air screenshots of others members’ models from his FPV video footage.

Mini-Mike had a bit of a moment with his large scale P.68 Partenavia Victor one day. He had just taken off when suddenly both motors cut but fortunately he got down safely with no damage to the plane. On investigation Mini-Mike realised what had happened and confessed that when he intended to raise the flaps he’d hit the wrong switch and turned on Throttle Cut instead. Now what sort of idiot would do make an elementary stupid mistake like that…says the man who has done exactly the same thing with his own Avios BushMule…twice!

One model that didn’t survive the month was John Warren’s Albatross. The model has had rather a chequered history with several crashes and rebuilds. I’ve flown it several times and it’s flown well enough although I think it was a step too far for John’s piloting skills. John brought it along following the latest rebuild and asked me to test fly and trim the model. It took off ok although it needed quite a lot of aileron trim but when I began a fairly gentle right hand turn the starboard bottom wing abruptly failed, dropping down by about 30 degrees.I’ve never seen a wing fold downwards before, no idea what broke. Apparently, unseen by me, John had been repairing one of the interplane struts prior to the flight so I imagine that was a factor. There was nothing I could do and the Albatross spun in and was terminally damaged. It’s a shame as the model had looked good in the air on previous flights although, as can be seen in one of Kryten’s photos, it was prone to a variety of inflight failures.Look closely and you’ll see a trailing rigging wire as well as the more obvious loose tyre. Not to be defeated John has already started building a replacement Albatross, let’s hope he builds in some more quality this time.

On a more cheerful note Woody (or Major Disaster as Captain Slow now calls him) has built a rather nice Tucano from a Phoenix Model Products kit. He has fitted a Ripmax Quantum 25 motor, a 60A speed controller and an 11 x 7 prop. It runs on a standard 3 cell lipo in the 2200 to 3000mAh range and weighs around 3 1/2lbs with the battery. Woody chose the colour scheme of the RAF Tucano Display Team aircraft ZF448 and it looks very smart in mostly black but with some yellow trim. The test flight went very well with no problems. Just don’t mention bananas…It’s a lovely flier, quite gentle but fully aerobatic with no vices so it should prove to be the ideal model for Woody.

We had an interesting moment at the field one day when Dougal and 1066 decided to do some synchronised flying with their electric gliders. Dougal was using his Multiplex Blizzard and 1066 his ST Models Blaze, a pair that are reasonably well matched for flying together. Unfortunately they only got as far as pulling up to climb and turn at the end of the first pass when they collided! I don’t think of either of them was particularly at fault so I’ll blame them both equally. Immediately after they touched Dougal realised he had a control problem but he made it back to the patch and landed safely. 1066 on the other hand seemed to have full control but no power so he had to land out.When we looked at the damage we found that Dougal’s Blizzard had one aileron hanging off and the control linkage to that aileron has disappeared, while on 1066’s Blaze the whole nose complete with the motor was hanging off. Presumably the Blaze prop had hit the Blizzard’s aileron linkage which broke half the prop and the ensuing vibration tore the whole nose off! Fortunately both models were easily repaired and were soon flying again…but not together.

Rumour has it that 1066 also had another very near miss but this time without any damage. Apparently, one day when I was absent, he did a low inverted pass with one of his foam 3D machines in the normal ‘I can get lower than you can’ way when he actually scraped the fin along the ground before climbing safely away! Sadly nobody has any photographic proof of this event so I’ve asked 1066 to repeat it for me to film but so far he’s declined…chicken!

Newbie Richard Osborn has been looked after mostly by Page Boy and is learning quickly with his Wot4 Foam-E.Chas has also watched over Richard for a few flights, an experience that I think they both enjoyed.

I spotted this in a free paper the other day about the Coastguard trialling drones for search and rescue missions: Although we don’t fly drones the general public and government seem to link model aircraft to drones so any positive publicity for drones can only be a good thing, it makes a change from the bad press they normally get.

Recently I’ve been posting photos of the build of Dwayne Pipe’s latest edf model, a Folland Gnat. Dwayne drew his own plans for the Gnat, scaling everything up from an Airfix plastic kit that he’d been given for Christmas.The Gnat is 36” span and also 36” long, Dwayne confesses that he has increased the size of the wings and tail by 20% to reduce the wing loading. The completed model weighs 2lb 15oz with a 4 cell pack which gives a wing loading of 20.6oz/sq. ft. Power is provided by a 12 bladed 70mm fan from Banggood coupled to a HobbyKing 80A speed controller and this gives 2lb 4oz of thrust and pulls 50A. This month Dwayne got the Gnat all finished in a nice Red Arrows colour scheme and asked me to do the test flight. He was unsure if there would be enough power using a 4 cell lipo so he had set the model up to take either 4 or 6 cells. To me 4 cells felt to be providing enough thrust so we decided to do the first flight with that. Dwayne launched the Gnat and it simply climbed away with just a little down trim being needed. The Gnat performed the usual rolls, loops, stall turns, and inverted with no problem at all so after four very enjoyable minutes I landed it safely back on the patch and declared the model to be a triumph.Unusually Dwayne flies Mode 3 so I had lent him a Multiplex receiver and set the Gnat up on my transmitter in my usual Mode 2. Alongside my Multiplex receiver Dwayne fitted one of his Futaba receivers so after I had trimmed the Gnat he simply swapped the servo leads from my receiver to his own, copied the trim settings to his transmitter and flew the model himself, simples. The only minor problem Dwayne had was that when landing he found the Gnat floated on more than he had expected and he overshot the patch. Not a problem, the Gnat landed gently. But… Dwayne was in for a shock when he retrieved it…remember the bullocks were in the field! The Gnat had skidded through some very fresh poo which filled both air intakes! In this month’s video you’ll see snippets of both flights.

Kryten sent me lots of his superb flying shots this month, some of which you can see below. I update the cover photo of the club Facebook page most weeks and this week I used one that Kryten had taken of my Stearman.BMFA then posted it on their Facebook site, giving us a free plug and web link. It’s already had almost 2000 views! Video time now, this month with additional contributions from Dougal Entendre and Captain Slow, thanks guys. Please watch the video full-screen, it’s so much better with small models flying around.If the video won’t play for you please click HERE

A huge military Lockheed C-5 Galaxy was sitting on the tarmac near a little Cessna that was waiting to take off.
The Cessna pilot was rather nervous of the C-5 and asked the tower to check the intentions of the military plane.
Before the tower could reply the C-5’s huge nose cargo doors opened and a voice came over the radio booming:
“I’M GOING TO EAT YOU!” 

Colin Cowplain

Patch News – July 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video time now, this month with additional contributions from Dougal Entendre and Captain Slow, thanks guys.Please watch the video full-screen, it’s so much better with small models flying around.If the video won’t play for you please click HERE

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

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

Colin Cowplain

Patch News – June 2020

As I begin writing this edition the country is slowly returning to normal, or at least ‘the new normal’ and many members have managed to get some flying in. The gradual easing of the lockdown rules has also made life easier for patch maintenance and it’s been mown several times which has brought it back to almost pristine condition although the lack of rain has caused it to go rather brown. The mowing has been led mostly by 1066 and Captain Slow has managed to keep the fence going throughout lockdown with regular charging and changing of the battery.At the end of May the bullocks returned and tended to join pilots alongside the patch but they’ve learnt not to touch the fence so haven’t caused us any serious problems. It would be nice if we could teach then not to wander across the take-off and landing areas at critical moments but overall they’ve been more of an irritation than a problem.Dougal Entendre tells me that Woody backed into the live fence during one session and rather disturbingly he seemed to enjoy the shock! Mike Smith did the same thing next time out but apparently found it less enjoyable. This time the bullocks visit was only a brief one and at the time of writing the field is bullock free again. Oops, you can ignore that, on Friday 26th Woody reported that the bullocks would be returning and sure enough they’re back.

During lockdown there were so many new models being built that I was overwhelmed with material for Patch News so I expected to be able to report on lots of maiden flights but that just hasn’t happened. With the restrictions of the number of pilots at the patch I haven’t attended as much as usual so I expect I’ve missed a few of the new models but will catch up over the next couple of months. Please send me details and photos of any new models I’ve missed.

One I haven’t missed is Captain Slow’s now infamous Splot. It’s infamous because the build of the really basic, fast to put together model took the Captain two years to complete, and I haven’t missed it because it still hasn’t flown! I sneaked a couple of socially distanced photos in mid-April when I dropped by Captain Slow’s place to collect the fence battery and the Splot was virtually finished then but 2½ months later it still hasn’t flown. He swears it’s all finished but doesn’t want to rush into anything. I must admit I am rather jealous of his model storage rack though.

I forgot to include one particular photo in the last Patch News and it’s one that I know you’d want to see. Bob the Builder and I were flying as soon as we were allowed and before the patch has been cut. Because the patch grass was longer than the rest of the field we left the fence up and flew from outside the circle, landing between the pits and the patch. At least that was the idea but Bob misjudged one landing and ended up here:I bet he couldn’t do that again if he tried! Luckily there was no damage, and the plane was ok as well.

Bob has now fitted a pair of new motors to his EasyTwin. The model flew well with the original motors but one of them made some fairly horrible noises at particular throttle settings and Bob could never be sure it wouldn’t suddenly seize up, especially bad news on a twin. So he’s splashed out on a couple of Tornado Thumpers from Overlander. I asked him for some comprehensive details of the new set-up and this is what he sent me:I just can’t get the staff… Oh, he did say “10 minute flights”. It can be seen flying with my BushMule in the video.

A couple of months ago Dougal sent me some photos of his venerable Fun 3 model. It’s now 40 years old having been originally built it in 1980 although the fuselage was rebuilt 4 years later following an ‘incident’!It’s been successfully flown with a variety of power sources, the first being a Meteor 40 with a tuned pipe (I bet that was noisy) and now of course an electric set-up which Dougal says makes it go better than ever.It is still using the original Skyleader servos which look rather out of place next to the tiny 2.4GHz Devention receiver, how things have changed in 40 years. But also notice the wing bolt plate that is looking very dodgy, I think that might have seen the end of the model had it not been spotted!

Last month I showed you a couple a photos of Woody’s almost completed Hunter that he’s built from the Tony Nijhuis plan. It’s now finished and I’ve had a few attempts at getting it flying but so far without success.The model looks nice but I wonder if it’s overweight as it just won’t go away from a hand launch. After several unsuccessful but undamaged attempts Woody is going to check the weight and measure the thrust to see if they are what the plan says they should be. It has the same fan and motor as my Raptor but feels about twice the weight although to be fair the Hunter uses a 2200mAh lipo and the Raptor only a 1500. We’ll see what the scales tell us.

Norwegian Nick brought his almost completed Sabre along to the field to show us one day. Like Woody’s Hunter the Sabre was built from a Tony Nijhuis plan and is using the same FMS fan but with a 4 cell rated motor. In theory that means it should have around a third more thrust so it ought to have plenty of power.The model is built to Nick’s usual high standard and is very nearly ready to be test flown. Personally I have to say that I have some doubts about the pilot, I’m not sure he can be relied on, he looks completely legless…

Several months ago, in the heady pre-lockdown days, I featured a Multiplex Stunt Master that Chas Butler had picked up for a good price at the LMA Much Markle show last year. The Stunt Master is made from Elapor (the Multiplex version of EPO foam) with carbon fibre reinforcements, has a wingspan of 870mm and weighs just 350g. The ready fitted hardware consists of a Permax 2206 1050kv outrunner, a 20A esc and three 8g servos. The prop is secured by a rubber O-ring so any unscheduled arrivals won’t damage the motor shaft, not that Chas will have any unscheduled arrivals. Both ailerons are operated by one servo mounted centrally in the fuselage above the wing, an arrangement that is pretty unusual on outdoor models these days but maybe it’s more common on indoor ones. Due to winter, windy weather, the lockdown etc Chas hadn’t got round to flying his new toy but towards the end of June the weather seemed perfect for its first flight. Despite being the hottest day of the year so far the conditions weren’t actually ideal as there was a reasonable breeze blowing from the east which always means turbulence from the trees. But the first flight went very well and even subsequent flights in the increasing wind were fine.Chas was delighted with the model and it certainly looked good in the air. The flights I watched were with the rates in the ‘standard’ setting, wait until he tries ‘3D’ setting! You can see some of the maiden flight in this month’s video.

Towards the end of June both Captain Slow and I started flying FPV again. We both had some successful flights without any problems but then Captain Slow decided to fly his SkyHunter normally, ie. not using goggles. It was flying fine although the turbulence off the trees but getting worse as the morning wore on, especially low down. I was trying to get some flying shots of the model so asked him to do a low pass…big mistake, entirely my fault. It’s a shame I was taking stills rather than video but you get the idea, the pass was a bit too low for the conditions. Fortunately there was no damage other than a cracked joint in the nose and a big dent in Captain Slow’s pride!

Dwayne Pipe sent through a couple of photos showing how he’s progressing with his Folland Gnat. It’s a totally scratch built model, Dwayne has drawn up his own plans, scaling everything up from an Airfix kit.He began by producing a kit of parts and now has the wings almost done, I assume there will be a carbon joiner.Dwayne is going to fit a 12 bladed fan from Banggood which he’s tested on an 8 cell lipo and gives around 1.5kg of thrust so in his words the performance should be ‘lively’! Dwayne is building up quite a bit of experience with EDF set-ups, his scratch built TSR2 goes very well as you can see in this month’s video.

Catapult King has now repaired his own design Yellow Tail following an early flight ‘incident’ when he discovered that models with very thin tapered wings are prone tip stalling, something that’s all part of the learning curve I’m afraid.He based it on 1066’s Pichler HiSpeed, taking the basic sizes and then modifying them to his own requirements.This time out Catapult kept the speed up and the Yellow Tail performed well with no problems.Catapult also flew his Bug, a model he built from the Flite Test plan, which is constructed almost entirely from Depron so is very light. The day was rather breezy so hardly ideal Bug conditions but it just about coped.

The weather has been quite amazing for the last couple of months but it became cooler and windier at the end of June. On Sunday 28th Dougal Entendre, 1066, and Bob the Builder had booked a slot and they all flew despite the strong wind. Here is Dougal’s report on the morning: When Steve and I met up, we decided to go in the lower field as we both had hand-launchable models and didn’t fancy dealing with the cattle. I flew the Sportjet and the Blizzard, and Steve flew his Mirus. The wind was strong but not too bad. Then we saw Bob going in the gate of the upper field, so I went over to tell him where we were. Steve went back to the car to get his hotliner out as there seemed to be lift about. Bob flew his Walrus and made the most of the lift which we found over the bottom of the field.The wind was coming up from the south-west, so some of it may have been slope lift, but there were strong and bumpy thermals coming through too. On my second Blizzard flight it started to rain quite heavily, so Steve and I landed, and Bob left at that point. The rain soon stopped though, and I still had 87% in the Blizzard battery, so we flew again. I must have spent fifteen minutes or so working bumpy thermals, and Steve did the same with his hotliner. I landed with 55% still left in the battery! So all in all a surprisingly enjoyable morning, and we were glad we made the effort! Thanks Dougal, sounds fun, sometimes the more challenging days turn out to be really good.

Video time now, and this time includes contributions from me, Captain Slow and Dougal Entendre, thanks guys. Please watch the video full-screen, it’s so much better with small models flying around.If the video won’t play for you please click HERE

Do you think invisible aeroplanes will ever be a thing?
I just can’t see them taking off…

Colin Cowplain

Patch News – May 2020

Things looked up a little for aeromodelling in May as the partial lifting of the lockdown was announced on 11th which meant two people could go to the patch and fly as long as they stayed at least two metres apart. Captain Slow came up with a system of booking slots which seems to be working well and many members have been out flying in the glorious weather. Initially there was the problem that the patch grass had grown very long and the bullocks were in the field but the bullocks were soon moved out and Iven offered to cut the grass with his self-propelled mower.The patch is the long stuff on the right in this photo, Iven is mowing around the edge. Captain Slow accompanied him and did a battery swap but Iven preferred to just mow alone and he eventually finished several hours later with five one cubic metre bags of grass that he took away in his van. We are all very grateful Iven, it was a mammoth job that would have taken the members very much longer with the club mower.Since then 1066 has mown it twice with Mike Smith and once with Colin Cowplain. Unfortunately the bullocks returned on 27th May which will make things a bit trickier, especially with just two flyers at a time.

Continuing from last month with some of the new models that have been built during lockdown I’ll begin with Kryten’s Swannee. For those of you who don’t know Kryten is really Graham Swan so when the Swanee plan was first published when he and I were at school together it was almost compulsory that he built one! This is what he says: When an article about Swannee appeared in Patch News in July 2018 I was quoted as saying the model was “awful”. I first built this plane in 1966 when it was first published as a free plan in the Aeromodeller magazine.Thinking about my comment, after reading the article, I concluded that it was my building skills and lack of accuracy that were awful rather than the model, which never did fly satisfactorily. I decided later in 2018 that Swannee V2 would be my “winter build” project ready for the spring of 2019. In the event it has taken slightly longer than that to carry out and complete it.

Firstly I decided that I would add aileron control as the original model was single channel “rudder” only. The original version had a large amount of dihedral and small amount of wash out built into the tapered wing construction. I think the washout was the Achilles heel of my first model. The wings are formed from 1/16th balsa skins top and bottom with a tapering set of ribs effectively keeping the skins apart. The plan indicated 1½ deg or 1/8th inch of washout along the trailing edge. At the time I used my Father’s work bench as my “model building board” and I am sure that the surface had more twist in it than that before I even started!!

So with a nice flat building board I am hopeful that V2 will be more successful. The main changes are:-
Converted to electric power including a battery tray, extended to include space for an AS3x receiver installed directly on the CofG.
Incorporated aileron control with HXT servos built into the wings
Stiffened up the front fuselage with light ply doublers.
Reduced the dihedral, the angle of attack and omitted the washout all as suggested in an  RCM&E April 2017 article.
Added elevator, an option on the original, and rudder controlled by servos rather than the “rubber band” powered escapement.
Omitted the rubber band fixing of the wings and replaced them with nylon wing bolt arrangement.

Otherwise the 36-inch wingspan Swannee V2 is constructed true to the plans and then covered in Hobby King film. Incidentally, the small cut outs in each of the formers shown in the photo, are to enable them to slide onto an aluminium box section which acts as a jig to keep the fuselage straight. This is removed before the engine mount is attached to F1.

All up weight including a Zippy 3cell 1000MaH battery is 22 ounces rather than the single channel target of 16 ounces. This equates to 15 ounces per sq ft (Please note that by way of a tribute to the age of the original model I have used imperial units)

The (dare I say it) Spektrum AS3x receiver has been set up with three flying modes:-
Mode 1 General flying – no gains
Mode 2 Launch – heading gain and rate gain
Mode 3 Landing – rate gain

Kryten sent through lots of construction photogaraphs which included the formers, fuselage, and wing halves. Here’s the model ready for covering and then completed with some very nice water slide decals that Kryten made. And here’s Swannee flying…but only virtually. Hopefully Swannee will be test flown for real before too long.

Page Boy has been busy building a Skywriter, a 48” span sports-scale biplane designed by Lindsay Todd. I don’t have any information about the motor etc at the moment but it looks as if he’s making a lovely job of the airframe and as the lockdown continues I don’t suppose it will be too long before it’s ready for covering.

Last month I mentioned that Matt Takhar was building something that’s a complete departure from his usual stuff.I can now reveal that’s it’s an Oxy4 Max helicopter! As we only fly fixed-wing models at the field a helicopter is quite a rarity for a PAM member although Captain Slow used to be heavily into choppers and some members do have small ones… but that’s another story! Matt is intending to fly his new toy with Hayling Helis in due course. Matt says:  Here’s the spec… I don’t actually know what most of this means or does, but it all sounds good! 
Oxy 4 max 
GDW DS595MG Tail servo 
GDW DS290MG Cyclic servos x 3
S
corpion Tribunus 06-80amp Esc/SBec 
Egodrift Tengu motor 3220/960KV 
HRB 6S 1800mAh lipos x 3
Micro Beast flybarless unit (aka the magic box of tricks)
Fun-Key FK RT Carbon Fibre Main blades
Fun-Key FK RT Carbon Fibre Tail bladesThe build has been very enjoyable, mainly down to learning something new. Although I will admit I spent the best part of three hours trying to work out how to setup the flybarless unit with the RX/TX, it uses a single SBUS lead from RX to unit.
That looks like a real feat of engineering, not what we normally think of as building. Good luck flying it Matt!

Norwegian Nick is still at it, building models that is. He sent me some info on his large Tiger Moth that looks almost ready to fly now: Bought it on eBay, cost £50. It’s a 1/5th scale Toni Clarke creation. When I got it home and gave it a good going over, I thought that’s 50 quid down the drain. It had been covered in doped on nylon cloth and painted in an awful earth colour probably dating back to the early 80s… Anyway in for a penny in for a pound. I used about 2 pints of cellulose thinners to remove all the covering which seemed to take ages. On exposing the frame work it was obvious that quite a lot of Balsa would need to be replaced. The wings thankfully were ok and needed no attention. The fuselage top and bottom longerons were spruce and in good nick however all the lattice balsa struts rudder and elevators just crumbled to dust when squeezed. So I bit the bullet acquired a set of plans and rebuilt all the affected structures. On completion I noticed that the tailplane was slightly offset to the horizontal but thought I don’t care anymore it will still fly. Covered in plain Solatex and sprayed to the Norwegian aircraft insignia. All servos were the first Futaba 3003s, huge, and control linkages in the wings were bell-cranks and wire pushrods. Now fitted with Hitec servos throughout and conventional push pull cables for elevators and rudder control as per full size. Had to make new struts for wings because they were absent when bought. Anyway enough of the waffle, it’s just over 6ft wingspan weighs out at about 10 lbs which is normal. Reluctant to power it with electric motor which would have involved major dockyard surgery on the front end and I think would belittle  the concept of a Tiggie so have fitted a Laser 70 4-stroke for power which I guess will be abhorrent to some. Just been online and the price of the same model from Toni Clarke is 499 Euros so fifty quid seems a bargain.
It looks great now Nick, well worth the effort and it will make an excellent stablemate for your 80” span Citabria Pro.

Nick’s also got a Peter Holland Archie biplane underway, well he wouldn’t want to run out of things to do would he? So that’s a Sabre, Buccaneer, Tiger Moth, and an Archie…are there any others that I don’t about yet Nick?

I forgot to mention the March competition in last month’s Patch News. For those who didn’t read the Comments section the winner was Kryten who correctly named the three S’s as Swanage, Studland, and Sandbanks just eight hours after it was posted! I was really pleased with the photo but I didn’t expect anyone to get the answers so quickly, in fact I wasn’t sure it would be recognised at all. Well done Kryten, here’s your Gold Star ⭐

Last month I set another competition, this time to guess the number of lipos in my ammo box. This comp wasn’t as popular but several members had a go. At one point I said that there was a tie, giving what I thought was a really good clue as that meant there could only be three possible answers. Surprisingly only one person had a go after that and with a one in three chance Page Boy correctly guessed 39. Well done Page Boy here’s your Gold Star! ⭐

Another model awaiting a test flight is this rather nice Hunter that that Woody has built from the Tony Nijhuis plan. Woody bought the laser cut kit and fitted the recommended FMS 50mm fan and motor along with a 40A Hobbywing speed controller. The colour scheme is from the Empire Test Pilots’ School as Boscombe Down, in fact this one:I’ve recently fitted the same fan/motor combination to my F-22 Raptor and am happy to report that the performance is much better than with the previous Dr Mad Thrust unit. I also had to replace the speed controller as the original was a 25A unit and the FMS set-up pulls a good 30A. I fitted a 40A one that I had spare and it so happens it’s a Hobbywing one so my set-up is identical to Woody’s. I believe the Hunter uses 2200mAh 3 cell lipos but I can’t fit those in the Raptor, I’m using 1300mAh 3 cell or some old (ex-Cyano Steve) 1800 Gens Ace ones that will just fit. I haven’t managed to find any new 1800’s that aren’t too big so maybe my next lipo purchase will be some 1500’s.The FMS fan is superb, it’s whisper quiet and noticeably more powerful than the Dr Mad Thrust unit. Of course the extra power means the flights are a little shorter but only using full throttle for steep climb outs and loops etc prolongs the available time to an acceptable length. See it in this month’s video. It will be interesting to see how the performance of Woody’s Hunter compares, the Hunter has a much more modern ducting design than the Raptor. Norwegian Nick’s Sabre will use the same fan but with a 4 cell motor so should be even better. Watch this space.

Gorgeous Gary has put together a Multiplex Funjet Ultra, he might be surprised by the speed of the thing, Multiplex say it will do 125mph! Gary has got a Himax c3514-2900 motor, a 60A esc, and will be using a 3 cell 2200mAh lipo.Gary has also been buying more I/c engines, he’s fitted a new OS55 to his existing Wot-4 and has built a new Acro-Wot that also has an OS55. He’s been flying since the partial lockdown lifting but not tried the new models yet. Dougal Entendre took this selfie of himself and Gary at the patch. Now I’m not sure if it’s just the photo but there appears to be rather more of Gary than last time I saw him. Could that be too many lockdown pies Gary?!Dougal also sent a photo of his prop hanging mishap, it seems he’s a bit out of practice but he said it would buff out. He was right, it did buff out a treat, good as new now. Well apart from the cowl but that was an earlier mishap.

I explained last month the Dwayne Pipe had treated himself to a new Futaba radio and he’s been using it in earnest.Getting everything set up can take a bit of getting used to with a change of manufacturer so the instruction manual has seen some heavy use but there have been no more unexplained crashes so it’s been a worthwhile change.

Almost last but by no means least is Bob the Builder’s new EasyTwin, an own design twin engine sports model. I did the test flight last week and after a little trimming and dialling down of the rates the model flew beautifully. The only problem was that the motors weren’t making the right noises, well one wasn’t anyway. At low throttle and full throttle they both seemed to run together nicely but at just above half throttle there were some very strange noises, definitely not correct, although it didn’t seem to affect the flying too much.The idea of building the twin was to use up a couple of old motors and a spare speed controller he had kicking around. I mentioned that running two motors from one controller was not advisable so Bob forked out for a matching pair of new ones. It now looks as if Bob might need to buy a pair of motors as well which rather spoils the whole idea. Never mind, it’s a nice model and flies well. You can see it in action in this month’s video.

Bob also built this during lockdown, just for something to do really. I have no details, what you see is what you get.  Well it looks ok so the all important question is how does it fly? Just watch the video, it’s hilarious!

1066 sent through some photos of the last new model of the month, Mike Smith’s Durafly Tundra V2. It’s a standard PNF  (Plug’N’Fly) model so very little work is required but Mike ordered it on a Tuesday, it arrived on the Saturday, and he flew it on the Monday. One of the unexpected joys of lockdown!

Video time now and this month your cameramen were me, Captain Slow, Dougal Entendre, and Bob the Builder, 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 click HERE

Some of you might also want to watch a second video. A couple of weeks ago, during a lockdown clear out, I found a VHS tape of the 1987 Nationals Fun Fly that Don Eades, Graham Head, Dick Hall, and myself entered. The tape was made by the event organisers using a camcorder and copies sold to competitors. I haven’t been able to play VHS tapes for many years so I had it converted to an MP4 file. I found the original video was 1hr 12mins long so I’ve edited it and made a PAM version which is mostly of the four PAM members and is 22mins long. It will probably be of little interest to many current members but it is a bit of club history and it’s here if you’d like to watch it:If the video won’t play for you click HERE

Give a man a plane ticket, he’ll fly for a day. Push him out of an airborne plane and he’ll fly for the rest of his life.

Colin Cowplain

Patch News – April 2020

As April has been the first full month of lockdown with no flying at all this Patch News will be concentrating on how we’ve all been keeping busy. However, the patch hasn’t been totally forgotten and some members have been along and checked the fence as part of their daily exercise. The battery has been changed regularly and everything is in order which is fortunate as Woody reports that the bullocks are due to return shortly.Dougal Entendre pointed out that the photos of the patch area have been updated on Google Maps and now show some of us at the field. It’s even possible to see the spot and now I know why I didn’t win the spot landing comp, the spot isn’t in the middle! Obviously all my spot landing attempts were dead centre of the patch…
My request for photos and information about your projects has been answered with a deluge and I now have enough material for at least two editions. Thank you all for your contributions, Patch News wouldn’t be possible without them especially during lockdown. If your model doesn’t feature in this edition it will be in the next one.

I’ll begin with one of several of Norwegian Nick’s projects, definitely a major project, a Blackburn Buccaneer.Nick mentioned that back in his naval days he’d worked servicing Buccaneers for three years so I asked him for some more information: I got drafted from H.M.S. Bulwark, a commando carrier with just Wessex Helios in 1975 to RAF Honington in Suffolk which had a detachment for 809 squadron Buccaneers. We had 3 of the squadron Buccs already to go in case they lost any when they were deployed on Ark Royal which was deployed over the pond to the USA. We also looked after and maintained 4 RAF Buccaneers of 208 conversion unit which trained RAF pilots and observers for front line squadrons. Prince Charles in his youth was going to visit the Ark Royal in the North Sea and we had to provide him with one of our Buccs. We were sent up to the Firth of Clyde to embark on Ark Royal, he then flew on board and stayed for 4 hours then flew off. We as the maintainers were then flown off to Lossiemouth and then back to Honington by a Sea Devon aircraft. Now I can see why Nick wanted to build one.Nick chose a Mark Douglas designed Buccaneer S2 kitted by Belair Kits. The fuselage is 1925mm in length and it has a wingspan of 1350mm, AUW should be around 10 lb 4 oz. Nick has bought two Lander 76 mm fans at 1600W each and two 85A esc’s that will be fed by two 6 cell 6000mAh lipos. The servos are a mix of Hitec 225s and HS 125s. The fuselage construction consists of framed bulkheads spaced by longerons and then the whole fuselage has to be planked due to the shape. Nick admits it’s a pain but says he’s winning and once finished it will be sanded to shape and then glassed. The wings were built as normal with spars and ribs and then sheet balsa covered. Wow Nick, just wow, that’s a heck of a project! I’m really looking forward to seeing the completed model.

You’ll be amazed to hear that Dougal Entendre has bought another transmitter as he was down to his last twenty or so! He sent me his excuses reasons. My reason for buying the Jumper T16 was in part because it uses the OpenTx software. I thought I really ought to get to grips with that, as Tx software used to be a major interest of mine back in the 20th century. But also the T16 is a multi-protocol Tx, so in theory I could use it for all my existing Walkera Devo receivers, plus any bind-n-fly indoor models I might choose to buy. These tend to use Spektrum or Frsky-compatible receivers, or various other makes, and all I would have to do is select the right protocol for each model.Actually getting hold of a T16 proved to be tricky as everywhere seemed to be out of stock, or charging about £200 for it, or both. I eventually found a supplier on Amazon.com (the USA site), who said they could get it to the UK for £135 (including customs duty). I ordered it in late January, and it reached me as promised in the middle of March.
It’s a good looking Tx which seems to be styled after a current Futaba model, and has a colour screen. It’s not a touch-screen – it uses a roller and pushbuttons just like the old Spektrum DX8 I had about 7 years ago. The sticks have Hall effect sensors instead of pots, so they have a very smooth feel to them. You have to provide either a 2s LiPo battery, or a pair of 18650 Li-Ion cells. A piece of equipment I’ve been designing at work uses the latter, so you’ll never guess what I ended up with!
It all sprang into life when I powered it up, but it soon became apparent that the roller switch was working very intermittently, and some of the pushbuttons didn’t seem to work at all. On subsequent power-ups the screen displayed a message that it had a stuck key. My heart sank as I contemplated returning it, but a Google search revealed quite a few other people had had this problem, and it could be solved by re-seating a couple of ribbon cables inside the Tx. So, following the advice of a YouTube video, I undid the screws to open the Tx, then set about undoing the connector clips at each end of the first ribbon cable. This cable was only about 2.5cm long and 0.5cm wide. When I undid the second connector clip there was a “ping” and the ribbon cable disappeared. It had obviously been held in compression, and had now pinged off to God-knows-where. I spent about 20 minutes searching the floor for it to no avail. I tried shaking the Tx upside-down, but nothing fell out. Eventually I found the ribbon wedged behind one of the PCBs in the Tx, to my great relief.
I eventually completed the reseating for both cables (carefully!) and screwed the Tx back together. The message about a stuck key didn’t show on the splash screen when I powered up, and what’s more, all the pushbuttons and the roller now worked properly! A good result, but one has to question the manufacturer’s quality control.The next thing to do was check the version number of the firmware. Sure enough there was an update on the Internet, and apparently it was an important fix for a couple of bugs. So I had to download OpenTx Companion on my PC, and connect the Tx with the USB cable to update it. I also had to remove the SD card from the Tx and copy a new load of data files to it. I think this stores most of the graphics and sound files, but I haven’t investigated its contents in detail yet.
Then to do battle with OpenTx. There are a LOT of menus, and I think I’ve barely scratched the surface of what it’ll do. It seems very capable, but it’s a big learning curve to find your way round it. For example, it seems to default to being a 4-channel system. I needed a switch allocated to a fifth channel, which entailed going into a different menu to assign one of the switches as an input to channel 5. It still didn’t work though. I then had to go into the mixer menu to assign the mixer to an output, and then it did work. I’ll probably get used to it, but it’s not for the faint-hearted. Anyway, I’m quite looking forward to exploring its capabilities, especially the audio (must get a sample of “Highway to the Danger Zone”!).
That’s all very easy to do on a Multiplex Cockpit transmitter Dougal!So far I’ve only tried it with an indoor quadrotor to keep me flying through this period of social distancing. That meant another huge learning curve to set up the quad using an app called Betaflight but that’s another story.  Having read all that reminds me that Bob the Builder almost bought the same Jumper T16 transmitter before choosing the less complex but rather more expensive Multiplex Cockpit. Dougal is finding the Jumper quite taxing and he used to write transmitter software and has a D.Phil in computers systems (yes, he’s genuinely a Doctor) so I think Bob made the right decision. When I queried Dougal about his qualification he said if anyone expects him to be the other sort of Doctor he tells them to take two Aspirin and ring him in the morning! You can see Dougal flying the quadrotor in this month’s video. Rumour has it that in the winter Dougal will have to upgrade the Jumper to a Coat…

Meanwhile Bob the Builder has a new project on the bench, a twin engine camera plane that he might eventually use for FPV. I only have limited information at the moment but Bob tells me it’s going to look quite similar to this one.The wingspan is 1300mm and it will be powered by a pair of 2836 1400Kv PropDrive motors from HobbyKing, a pair of 40A speed controllers, and a single 4000mAh lipo. Bob seems to be re-using the tailplane and fin from an old model, a good bit of upcycling. With most of the actual building done it’s looking nice, should be a good flier. The motors will provide around 400W each which should be plenty of power. The one in the photo looks to have a pusher prop on it so expect Bob is going to correctly have both props rotating in towards the fuselage.

Another twin now, Mike Smith’s Partenavia Victor that he bought from Puffin Models about twelve years ago and has finally got round to finishing. At 79″ span it’s a big one and the kit was made by Modell Studio in the Czech Republic.Mike has fitted the Victor with a pair of Tornado Thumper 3542 1250KV motors and will be using a pair of 4 cell 3300 lipo packs. The quoted weight is around 10lbs but Mike is hoping his will be a bit lighter as the original used heavier nicads batteries. He’s concerned about a lack of power but looking at the motor specs I think it’ll be fine. Like the full-size the model is fitted with flaps to slow it up for landing. Space for all the gear isn’t a problem and Mike managed to squeeze everything in, I reckon he should cut a hatch and join my BushMule on a parachute drop!

1066 has sorted through his lipos and ditched thirty five duff ones! He then charged/discharged all the remaining ones to the correct storage voltage and sent me a photo of how he’s storing them, certainly much neater than mine.I’ve also set all mine to storage voltage but I didn’t get round to sorted out the duff ones. This gave me an idea for another Gold Star Competition: How many lipos are in my ammo box? There’s a mix of 3 & 4 cell packs of capacities from 1000mAH to 4000mAH. Would you like a clue? I’m afraid I don’t have one, your guess is as good as mine.I haven’t counted them yet but I struggled to get them all in there. Oh, and the balance board is still in the bottom. Please enter your guesses in the Comments, one guess each, nearest is the winner.

1066 also sent me some photos of what he thinks was his last scratch built model, a Pitts Special S-1S.He cut his own foam wings and used the Avicraft Panic method to skin them. He said after all the work it was a rubbish flier and that put him off scratch building for life. He was using an OS61FSR but it really needed a 90.The model may not have flown very well but it looks superb to me. The full-size G-BOOK was the late Brian Lecomber’s display Pitts back in the 1980’s but in 1992 it was unfortunately destroyed by a fire after landing. Apparently the fire was caused by a leak of diesel oil from the smoke system, fortunately nobody was injured.

Matt Takhar has sent me some info on two lockdown projects, one of which is a complete departure from his usual stuff but that one will have to wait until next month. This month I’ll just show you his latest 3D plane, an Extra 300-EXP. He says it wasn’t much of a build as it’s an Extreme Flight kit so there was little work to do.Both the wingspan and length of the Extra are 48”, the wing area 500sq. in. and the weight 42-46oz. Matt has fitted it out with an Extreme Flight Torque 2814T 829kV motor coupled to a Hobbywing Platinum Pro 50A V3 esc.He’ll be using a 12×6 APC Electric Prop and I assume it’ll be on a 4 cell lipo. The servos are all Savox SH-0257MG Micro Digitals. I love the colour scheme and no doubt it will perform as well as the other Extreme Flight models.

Many of us are familiar with the Avro Lancaster that Percy Vears has been building for a while now and barring fitting the radio gear, and final testing/adjustments, the project is more or less complete.This is what Percy says about it: The airframe was built in balsa/ply from a Tony Nijhuis 72” Lancaster kit. This was finished with 18gm glass fibre cloth and Z-Poxy resin.  Halfords High-Build primer was used to take out some of the bumps and dents (most of which is removed by sanding).  This was then followed by a coat of Halfords Grey Primer.Camouflage colours on the top surfaces were Matt Dark Earth (Humbrol 29) and Matt Dark Green (Humbrol 30), and after application of the roundels, were sprayed with Halfords matt clear lacquer.  The underside and fins were painted with Halfords Satin Black Lacquer. Roundels and lettering were cut from Solar Film.Some items required were not readily available off the shelf, so this forced me to engage in the world of 3D printing (another learning curve!).  These included pilot/crew figures, Browning guns and spinners, plus other small parts. The electronic parts (apart from Tony Nijhuis supplied retracts) came from HobbyKing and are as follows:

  1. Motors:                4x Turnigy D2836/8 1100kv brushless
  2. ESC:                       4x HobbyKing 30A
  3. Rudder servos:  2x Turnigy TGY-D56MG  (flat profile)
  4. Other servos:     4x Turnigy TGY-50090M
  5. UBEC:                    5V, 5A  (learnt from Vulcan – separate UBEC needed)
  6. Battery:                3s 5000mAh 40C
  7. Propellers:          4x Master Airscrew 3-blade 8×6 (2xCW & 2xCCW) 

The overall weight is likely to be in the region of 3Kg (6.5lb) so performance with 700W (824W peak) is likely to allow the aircraft to lumber along at scale speed, rather than exhibit aerobatic performance.

Excellent Percy, it looks superb and I’m sure it will fly very well. At just over 100W/lb I think it will have plenty of power and should ‘lumber along’ perfectly on about half throttle.

Last month I mentioned that Dwayne Pipe was looking for some new radio gear and he replied with this: I finally lost confidence with Spektrum when on three flying occasions the aircraft just fell out of the sky for no obvious reason ( apart from my own rubbish flying). To confirm it the ailerons reversed themselves in mid-flight while I was using my Spektrum transmitter on my flight simulator at home. So I have abandoned Spektrum and bought a Futaba T6K transmitter and receivers. Nick S lent me an old Futaba transmitter and instruction manual so I got the hang of the programming, I have been transferring all my models over to Futaba which seemed to take forever.Still haven’t tried it out in real life, so that’s something to look forward to when the grownups let us out to play.

Meanwhile Dwayne has started another project and he’s doing it the proper way, starting from scratch: With all this time on our hands I have been looking for a challenging build project. I fancied a more aerobatic edf than my TSR2 (which is good at flying fast in a straight line). A BAE Hawk would have been fine but Dan’s is so good that I couldn’t compete. For Christmas, presumably to keep me out of trouble, my wife bought me an Airfix Red Arrows Folland Gnat kit, which looks really good and being mid wing should be hand launchable. So my latest project is to design a Folland Gnat using just the Airfix kit and the three section drawing that comes on the back of the box. Based on a 12 blade 70 mm fan and a 36″ wingspan I have drawn out the plan using only a setsquare, rule, pencil and eraser. Very old school. I’m very impressed by your plans Dwayne and I can’t wait to see this one finished.

Newbie Nick has bought a 1 metre span Strike 3 DLG from Hyperflight, I took this is from their website: The Strike 3 is superbly made using 30 g/m2 Carboline spread carbon, the model is exceptionally light, while also being strong and very rigid, allowing high launches. Still air times of 2 minutes have been reported by strong launchers, and pilots enjoy the excellent performance and sweet handling. Its full span ailerons allow camber adjustment in flight, giving it a wide speed range, allowing it to be flown in moderate winds, which is unusual for 1m gliders.Under the Kevlar nose cone Nick has fitted four Blue Bird Nano HV digital servos to control the ailerons, elevator, and rudder. The rudder and elevator are sprung in one direction and use a Kevlar cord to pull against the tension. The four servos are stuck together then glued to a thin ply tray then the whole assembly is glued into the fuselage.Nick has mounted the receiver under the CG and has fitted a 2 cell 300mAH battery in the nose and the all up weight is just 130g. It’s certainly an interesting very high tech model that should perform very well.

Video time now. Yes I have managed to cobble one together with contributions by myself and Dougal. Please watch the video full-screen, it’s so much better with small models flying around.If the video won’t play for you please click HERE

A pilot walked into a bar and asked for a packet of crisps.
“What flavour would you like?” asked the barman.
The pilot replies “Have you got helicopter flavour?”
“No sorry, just plane”…

Keep safe everyone – Colin Cowplain 

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