Monday, 22 November 2010

Saturday 6 November Hole of HorcumThe forecast got it wrong today and although the wind direction was close to the forecast the wind was too light and died away before the end of the second round.
My Vikos picked up its heels in the light air and flew a reasonable time in round 1. My round 2 time was slower but flying stopped about halfway through the round when the wind dropped below minimums and that was it.
Some guys were courageous and sport flew in the light air but my models stayed on the ground. I didn’t fancy the long walk to the bottom of the hill to retrieve my glider!
Interested to see an Alula getting thrown around in the light air and I wish I had taken mine. It was also interesting to see a Flying Fish going well in the light air. I’m sure it was going better than the Alula when the lift died to almost nothing.

Saturday 30 October. East Lomond.With 15mph winds from the southwest forecast a trip to East Lomond seemed like a good idea and so it turned out. Peter Gunning, Mike McCracken and his mate Craig and Ian Stewart had the same idea so we all met up for a flee.
As it turned out the wind was more south-southwest and about twice the forecast wind-speed and blowing around 35-40mph. Typical of East Lomond although a good wind was blowing the lift wasn’t particularly strong.
I gave my Vikos a fly and fiddled with snap-flap and reflex settings but I’m not sure if it made any difference. Seemed quite fast but then so did Peter’s Cyril and Mike and Ian’s Skorpions. I let the Team Skorpion side down by leaving my Skorpion at home today.
Peter had his new Futaba FX30 on 2.4 GHz and it seemed to be working very well in both his Cyril and Extreme. There might be some merit is this new fangled technology!!
Craig flew his PMP Synergy or similar and reminded me that I must dig my foamies out again.
I can’t remember the last time I flew a 60" EPP model but the last foamie comp that was run was way back in May. There were only two 60" EPP events this year and they were both in May. It seems a shame not to fly my Reaper more often because it is a smooth model. I am tempted to try the BMFA 60” comps in Huddersfield and Horcum next year because they run back to back with F3F events.

Monday 25 OctoberInteresting day on Saturday flying on Purin Hill on the north slope of East Lomond. The lift is never great there and even although the wind strength rose for 15 to 30mph the lift never really improved. I remember the same from a foamie event there once.
The end of the summer league and only two weeks until the first F3F race of the Northern (Hole of Horcum) league. I am more than pleased to finish the F3F summer league in third position. I only missed one out of the eight events and this meant that the only race I didn’t attend became my discard. (I believe one discard is applied after 7 events). Next year I will endeavour not to miss any and be able to discard my worst event! I am lucky in that I have most Saturdays free for flying.

The scoring system does penalise those people who can't make all the events and I believe only 5 fliers out of 13 raced at all 8 competitons.
Kilspindie Sunday 17 October
Took my Skorpion and unflown Weasel Evo up to Kilspindie.
The wind was blowing a steady 30 mph and my Skorpion loved it. Not a lot of lift but enough to get some practice in and to try out the flaps mixed with aileron. With the Skorpion I had never tried the flaps mixed with ailerons but chatting to Mike McCracken about his Skorpion settings I thought I would give it a try. I have to confess it does seem to roll more smoothly. Still not sure about reflex on the Skorp though! Hmmmm…..
I then gave my Weasel a go and had some fun with that. The 30+ mph wind and about twice the amount of elevator throw needed led to a hyperactive flight as I struggled to get it out into the lift. To say that it was touchy on the elevator is an understatement. A severe case of Pilot Induced Pitch Oscillation resulted. Had I set up dual rates? Of course not! The model needed some up trim too and I couldn’t dare let the elevator stick go to get to the trim lever or it would have dived into the ground. I was using my tranny muff which meant reaching the trim with my other hand was a little awkward! Pity I was on my own because it would have been entertaining to watch! Once it was out in the lift and I got it flying more or less level it was ok and I managed to land it without too much panic.

Weasel Evo
Throws adjusted and some lead crammed into the recess in the fuselage and all was well for the next flight. Quite fast considering how light it is and it loops and rolls nicely. I need to work on aileron differential to make rolls more axial. The lack of inertia shows up in it losing speed quickly in vertical flight but still a lot fun to fly. Hovering backwards to land is fun as are inverted launches and landings! It feels like a bigger, faster, heavier Alua which comes as no surprise because it comes from the same stable..
Like the Alua Evo the Weasel Evo can be left uncovered in pimply white foam but I covered mine in Solarfilm to make it a bit more durable and keep it cleaner. The added weight doesn't worry me because I have my Alula for the really light days. The Axis of Weasel logo is cut from Solarfilm.

Sunday 10 October KilspindieWith an east/east-northeast wind forecast I met up with Peter Gunning, Ian Stewart and Mike McKracken up at Kilspindie.
Peter was already there when I arrived and was giving his Cyril a good thrashing in the 20-25 mph wind blowing on the east slope. Ian, Mike and I quickly joined Peter on the slope.
When I got my Skorpion in the air I found the wind pretty steady although cocked-off to the left a little but great for practicing F3F flying along the ridge. The forecast was a bit vague at times but it turned out quite flyable although rather murky and looked like it might rain although it never did.
I was keen to try my Skorpion out having replaced a cracked tailplane joiner caused by a poor landing at the BMFA Nats at Horcum. I would have repaired it much sooner if Royal Mail hadn't messed up the delivery of carbon rod from Hyperflight. The delivery failed because the mailing tube would not fit through my letter box and instead of leaving it next door with a neighbour it was taken away. Via the Royal Mail website I arranged for it to be redelivered and I was at home on the appointed day but nothing appeared. I then arranged for it to go to a different address in the same postcode area but again nothing. I reordered more rods from Hyperflight and they arrived next day! I did retrieve the orginals from the Royal Mail parcels office on Saturday morning but had to wait for 30 minutes for them to find it. Ho hum! No reason for the non delivery either. Excellent! I do have a good supply of 5mm carbon rod now!
I was also keen try my Vikos after replacing the broken flap servo arm and to try the subtle tweaks Richard Bago gave me when I was at Horcom for the BMFA nationals. Changing the servo arm was tricky because the servo seems to have been glued in with thick super-glue. Hmm...! I managed to get the screw out of the servo by bending the end of a fine screwdriver at right angles and winding the screw out 1/4 turn at a time. It took a while but worked well!
I was pleased with the way both models were going and look forward to the last F3F competition of the summer season in two weeks.
Mike had his Ascot going well and it looked as fast as ever as did Ian's Skorpion. Mike also had his Voltij and he gave me a shot. Nice and aerobatic. I missed getting a picture of Mike hand launching his Voltij inverted but I did get one of his Ascot skelping him on the head as he was getting ready for a (conventional) launch!!
I took a few pictures which can be seen here. Peter had to leave sharp so I missed getting any photographs of his Cyril or his Volitij.

3- 5 September. British Slope Nationals Hole of Horcum.I drove down on Friday 3rd and met-up with Peter and Dave at the Horcum car-park. The traffic had been pretty heavy all the way down and it and it was nice to get out of the car when I finally arrived. Peter and Dave joined me after about half an hour and we debated whether it was worth walking over to the south east bowl considering how little wind there was. I had spotted a paraglider earlier so it was obviously flyable and after a bit of debate we walked over and found the light lift ok and quite flyable. We were joined soon after by some of the other competitors who had been watching our progress from the car-park.

Peter concentrating on flying his Kyril in the light air.
This was only the second time I had flown my Vikos and it was going well considering the light wind.
We headed down into Pickering for our respective B&Bs and met-up later for a couple of beers and a curry. Ace!!
Mike drove down first thing on Saturday and we all meet-up and headed over to the slope with the rest of the competitors. The wind was farther south than forecast so the first two rounds were flown on a narrow south facing bowl and the lift was very variable. Rubbish lift for most but a few people coped better with the very variable lift. Peter was first up and got some awful air and a very slow time which was very disappointing. Dave was the only one of us who put in some respectable times with his Vikos. Dave kept this up for both days and his consistent flying gave him a great final result. I struggled at times to even look like I knew what I was doing! Bad air in almost every round is my excuse. I wasn’t the only one because Mike was struggling too. The wind increased a little towards the end of the final round of the day, round 6, but the lift was incredibly changeable although some were lucky to keep getting better air. So frustrating for a lot of us though. We had to move the course three times when the wind shifted direction which was a pain too.

Sunday saw much better wind blowing from the south east although the lift was very variable again and some were more fortunate in finding it than others. Dave continued to put in consistent times although he had to do a quick fuselage and elevator horn repair after a bumpy landing. Peter got his head down and started to pull himself up the leader board and he had his Cyril going well. He had fastest time of the day at one point until Mark Redsel put in a 32.xx time. Mike was having a tussle with another flier and was determined to keep his Skorpion in front despite some poor air on many occasions. I seemed to get poor air for my Vikos in every round and was growing increasingly frustrated. Capped off for me by a hard heather stalk pushing a retracted flap up so hard that it snapped the servo horn. With no spare I switched to my Skorpion and still got bad air with that. In round 12 I cut and the half bunt recovery went well until the Skorp flicked on the pull-out although it was so far down the hill most missed seeing it. Fortunately it was high enough to recover but rattled by this I fluffed the landing and landed hard. Back at the pits I couldn’t figure out why a flap was deflected down about 5mm and fiddled about with sub-trim to no avail until I noticed the battery monitor was showing red. A quick change to a back-up battery didn’t help and that pesky flap servo continued to buzz unhappily. I could feel it getting hot so switched it all off for a think. I decided that the servo had died and Peter convinced me to change the servo and offered me one of his spares but I actually had one of my own. With my glamorous assistant Peter’s assistance the servo was quickly removed and at this point Peter spotted that a small piece of broken wiper was jamming the flap and preventing the return to neutral. Problem solved. Thanks Peter. (Apparently I wasn’t the only person to have problems with their flaps over the weekend)
Round 13 saw me finally get some stonking air and a 41.xx time and was I chuffed to get some good air at last!! Some not too bad air in the last round cheered me up and a final position in the 20s was not as bad as it could have been. Mike was right behind me which was a surprise considering how well he had been going on the Sunday but I'm sure his poor scores on Saturday pulled him down.
Peter was 5th and Dave Watson 7th. Well done to them both. Full positions to follow but Mark Redsel was the winner followed by John Thornton, Joel West and Paul Middleton. Full results here.

John Thornton, Mark Redsel and Joel West
Peter and I both won some Beli-Zell adhesives (courtesy of T9Hobbysports) in the raffle so were more than happy with that!
Some great flying in challenging conditions made for a memorable weekend. I saw some great skills when the lift was good because you need to be able to exploit the lift when it comes along but you also need to make the very best of the poor air too.
Dave Watson took some excellent pictures. Peter Gunning took some great ones too. John Eddison's write-up is here.
The trudge back to the car made me realise how knackered I was and wasn’t looking forward to the long drive home but it was fine and I was home for 10:30 in time for a wee Bacardi.

28 August 2010I was keen to try my Vikos for the forst time and despite the forecast wind direction being for westerlies I walked up to East Lomond, completely ignoring the wind blowing in my face all they way up there! I had set off up the hill early and I missed seeing Peter and Mike who decided (wisely) to drive over and walk up Bishop Hill. I didn't get the voicemail message that Peter left me until I was putting the Vikos together or I may have been tempted. Pig of a climb though. I got a text from Peter later on saying that the lift was stonking on Bishop :o(

I regret not waiting for anyone else to arrive but I knew the forecast was saying the wind was going to swing more north-west as the day went on and I wanted to get the Vikos in the air.

Anyway, I didn't have to go right to the top of the hill and I was able to fly from the far right-hand-side of the usual slope on; where we usually have a buzzer man set-up. The wee gully and footpath and rockface were on my right but landing was in the usual area back from the slope. Good lift over on front of the highest part of the main hill but not a good idea to fly very far along the slope to the left. Had an exciting minute getting back into the lift at one point when I went too far east as did Ian Stewart when he joined me later on with his Ceres.

The Vikos went well on the settings I had dialed in. Differential looked spot on and tight turns and tight loops seem fine. Zooms a little when the brakes first go in but settles down nicely. Dive test seems spot on. The cg is at 108mm back from le. I used the settings Tony Fu mentioned in his review on RCGROUPS although the cg came from Richard Bago.

Ian's repaired Ceres was going as well as ever.

24 August 2010I had an excellent day on Saturday. A good turnout of ten F3F racers and some challenging conditions on East Lomond. The wind was blowing about 35-45 mph and it was quite bumpy. Landing approaches needed to be positive!
In the first round I managed to get some good air and I had my Race M going well. After the first couple of legs I got the model settled “in the groove”- roll, pull, rollout, roll, pull, rollout……. And I cut on turn 5 or 7; bugger! I remember thinking that I had probably just thrown away the only good air I would get all day!
Round two started well for me and just kept on going. Good air for ten laps and I didn’t cut or lose concentration. I recall the thought going through my head “don’t blow this” “don’t cut but don’t wait for the buzz either!” Result? A sub 40 time. Was I chuffed? Too true I was.
I managed to keep finding some good air for the rest of the competition and finished in second place. I’ve been flying model planes since the mid 70’s and F3F for the last 3 years but Saturday must rate as one of the best if not the best!
Blah, blah!!

Fedex delivery update:-
My newly acquired Vikos is finally dialled in according to the settings published by Tony Fu on the RCGroups forum. I hope this will give me a good starting point.
I also have a Weasel Evo in the shed waiting for me to finish putting it together. More to come on that one!

16 August 2010 Fedex DeliveryFedex man brought me a parcel today.

Fedex Delivery

I also have a Weasel Evo on the bench so plenty to keep me busy.

15 August 2010 KilspindieI set out from Monifieth encouraged by the 15 mph easterly wind and took my Alula and Reaper with me. Well, it was absolutely flat calm at Kilspindie so the Reaper stayed on the ground but I flew the Alula for about an hour and a half and managed to blunder into three good thermals along the way. Not a cloud in the sky and warm work throwing the Alula but the times when I found some lift made it well worth while and the three good thermals were great fun. The Alula got really high and far away at times, too much for the tiny Jeti Rex5 (with nice short aerial) 35 mHz receiver I have in it. Glitchy, glitchy!! I fancy changing over to 2.4 because some of those receivers are very small and only short aerials.

Time to place an order to Giant-Cod for Frsky 2.4 module and receivers maybe? Could do with one for the Weasel Evo I have in the workshop.

31 July 2010 East LomondWith a 15 mph wind forecast from the south west I headed up to East Lomond with my Skorpion and Reaper. I was quickly joined by Ian Simpson with his Big Bird and FastBak and we were subsequently joined by Ian Stewart with his Skorpion and Ceres. The wind was blowing a good 20 mph and the lift was fairly constant. Not long after we started flying a rain shower blew in and we got a wee bit wet however once it finally blew though we had some fun in the reasonable conditions. Ian's Skorpion was going well after some experiments with ballast. A bit too much at one point but with just less than half ballast it was going well. I flew mine empty for a while but found it better with 4 out of the 10 slugs it takes.

Ian Simpson was keen to try a spot of ds-ing when the hill-top was clear of walkers and he certainly got his FastBak into the groove. I didn't get my Reaper going very well; I am too much of a coward! Ian's ds-ing was cut short when the fin on his Fastbak departed and left Ian to fly a skittish model with no vertical tail. It does fly without the fin but not very well!

Hamish McNab showed up late in the day with his Zagi and after a few false starts in the now 30mph winds got his model flying well.

Pity there wasn't a competition today because the conditions were pretty good apart from the rain! One lesson I learned is next time I am hiding behind my brolly on the slopeside don't turn round to check the weather unless I want my brolly to blow inside out!!!

23 July 2010.I fancied a change and found the Komposer software I was using a bit limited so I've moved to Google Sites as a host. There isn't much difference in the content but I am hoping the sofware is less "buggy". Please feel free to contact me with any comments.

I damaged my Race M last week after a heavy landing with full ballast had loosened the inner nose on one side. It was easily pushed back into place and rather than use ordinary thin super-glue I bought some Beli-Zell CA1 from T9. Interesting to use because it is not quite as thin as thin ca usually is and it is coloured black so you can see where it has gone. Seems to have worked very well but time will tell how it holds up in the long term....

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