Patch News – June 2020

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

Patch News – December 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This month some of the video and photos come from Captain Slow, Bob the Builder, and Dougal Entendre, thanks guys. Please watch the video full screen, it’s so much better with small models flying around.If the video won’t play for you please click HERE

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

Colin Cowplain

Patch News – November 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chas is building a Tony Nijhuis designed Westland Lysander that’s 1/9th scale giving it a wingspan of 1676mm (66”).The final weight should be around 6lbs and Chas will be powering it with a 595kv 4-Max motor with a 14×7 prop, a 70A esc and a 4 cell 4500mAh lipo. He hasn’t made a decision on the colour scheme yet but this one is a contender.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“These? Oh these are Carols…”

Merry Christmas everybody
Colin Cowplain

Patch News – October 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Colin Cowplain

Patch News – September 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Colin Cowplain