Yet another Hole of Horcum F3F competition was cancelled on Saturday because of poor weather and it was no better up in this part of the world with rain falling for most of the day. Sunday’s forecast was for a dry day with a good south-south-easterly wind and this is indeed what we got. Kilspindie would have been the usual choice although in a SSE wind it is only really flyable from the iron-age fort on the south corner which doesn’t have much of a ridge. Peter Gunning had been doing some slope searching and thought it would be worth a visit to the sea cliffs at Auchmithie which is a couple of miles east of Arbroath. This is only about 20 minutes from my house and well worth a look.
I met Peter in Auchmithie and we walked out towards the cliffs and along the cliff-top path. Not far and no climb involved. My kind of slope!! We both noticed the lack of wind behind the slope and made a mental note to be wary of rotor on landing.
The wind on the slope edge was pretty well smack on the slope and must have been a good 30mph. The options for landing looked limited with a small area between the path and the cliff edge looking the best option but this was only about 3 metres square. There was a large area behind the cliff path but we doubted how good this would be for landing because there seemed to be hardly any wind blowing the un-harvested wheat left in this part of the field.
I had brought my ex Dave Watson Spark F3F model with me and I put this together to test the air. This was the first time I had flown this model and the first time I have used my recently acquired and refurbished Futaba 9ZAP transmitter. So, a new model, a new transmitter and a new slope. Should be fun! It was!!
Great and very smooth lift out over the sea. I have never flown from a cliff and it was brilliant. My Spark was belting along and fairly shifting in the excellent air. The ailerons need more throw and the elevator a bit touchy but it flies very well. I wish I had had a model like that when I first started F3F racing. The 9 ZAP transmitter was good too and I am more than chuffed with it.
Peter flew his Cyril and it was looking very smooth and very fast in the silky smooth air over the sea. I had a real trouble trying to take pictures of his rapid racer in the poor light. Brilliant fun.
Landings were a different matter. Only the small area next to the cliff edge was suitable because the rotor behind the slope was wild. I must have had about a dozen attempts to get my Spark down. The lift on the slope edge was too much for the brakes on my Spark and even with full brakes it was still going up. The technique that worked for me was to come along the slope edge from the east towards myself with the brakes out and turn into the wind and land in the small clear area. Many overshoots were needed for me to get it right but luckily I made it in the end. Peter was really unlucky and his model got a wee bit too far back from the edge and fell into a dead area of air and smacked into the fence. Some damage to the leading edge of the left wing spoilt a grand day out. In the above picture that area to Peter's left is the landing area.
Peter took some great photographs of today's fun!
Well worth a visit again but maybe best for foamies where the tall vegetation along the cliff-top would be ideal for landing.