Monday, 26 September 2011

East Lomond F3F

10 rounds of F3F on East Lomond in +25mph, no rain and the sun came out in the afternoon. Days like this help to make up for all those other ones in rubbish weather!

This is destined to be the first day of the Scottish National F3F Championship with the second half hopefully next Saturday.

I started well and won the first round and went on to win 2 others! One of my most successful days ever but the competition was so close that consistency paid off and Peter went on to win. In my last round I got some great air and annoyingly cut the B base and made a poor recovery which didn’t help! I had been threatening to cut that base all day! Peter’s write up and final positions are on the Results page.

After the event was complete Peter flew his lovely new P3. Noice!!

No camera pictures from me today only a few from my phone. Camera got wet last week in Wales but finally dried out now.

Second half next week but I won’t make it :o(

Dagenham Dustbin still dead :o( :o(

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Welsh Open 2011

Thursday morning saw me at Peter’s house loading our stuff into his car before setting off about 10:30 to collect Mike for the journey down to the Bwlch and the Welsh Open. Twenty minutes later we were heading back to Peter’s to pick up the bag containing his clothes and chargers! We took time when we got to Mike’s to drool over his recently aquired large Ventus spotted hiding in the back of his garage before heading for the M74. A stop for a burger to sustain us and we were off. We had an appointment for a curry in the Ashoka in Bridgend later on.

Friday morning started damp with showers and a good south westerly wind so we ended up on Mickey’s slope and the start of the competition. I have to confess to being a wee bit nervous before my first flight but was more than chuffed with a 39.xx which is only my third sub-40. Well pleased I was! The majority of times were in the low 40s and mid 30s. Fast!!

We were plagued by frequent heavy showers all day but the proximity of the cars meant we had somewhere to hide from the rain.

Our poor models had to lie there and get soaked!

Just before I was due to fly in round two, I spotted a problem with an elevator servo and had to switch to my Skorpion. AJ was kind enough to let me squeeze in a “re-fly” later in the round. The rain started during my flight but I declined the offer of a second re-fly which AJ reckoned was a mistake. I think he may well have been right!

The weather meant that only one round was completed and just over half of the second before flying was abandoned for the day. Back in the New Inn for a quick change of elevator servo (I had a spare with me) and my Vikos was ready to go again. Rich Bago had more servos with him and I was able to obtain another spare.

The Ashoka was pretty busy all evening so we had to find another curry house to squeeze in the 14 hungry fliers. Two curries in two days. Wow!!

Saturday saw us on the west slope at Mickey’s in similar (less than perfect) weather and no cars to escape to. The first big shower got Mike and I really soaked, Peter had managed to find shelter under the Sportsbrella of the Yorkshire contingent. Guess where Mike and I went when the next shower hit? I’m sure the three of us spent half the day having philosophical discussions with Jon, Keith and Richard as the heavy rain lashed the Sportsbrella. We were more than grateful for their hospitality!
Round two from Friday was completed and round three flown with several interruptions for the heavy showers of rain and hail. The Norwegians sat out these deluges stoically hiding behind large cape/groundsheets.

Mike provided some entertainment for Peter and me during round four by almost cutting on legs 3 and 5 and then having a huge cut on leg 7. However, if you are not cutting you are not trying!!

A heavy rain shower before I flew in round four seemed to remove most of the lift and I put in a dismal 60.xx time although not as bad as Jon Eddison who got some very poor air indeed. Full ballast and no wind is not a good situation to be in! That would be our discard round sorted then! About 10 pilots got caught in this crap air before it picked up again. I wasn’t keen on the walk up the hill to the landing area and as the day progressed and more pilots and more rain fell and the path became quite muddy and slippery and the climb up to the landing area became a trial!

Just before Joel West launched my Vikos in round five I spotted that one flap was a bit slow and checking things after I landed showed the battery had almost died. Gulp!! Lucky that didn’t happen in the air. Also lucky that I had a spare in the correct configuration for the Vikos all charged up and ready to go.

The weather closed in during round five and we spent the last hour hiding from the rain until a halt was called to let us all get our more than soggy gear stowed in the cars and heading back for a well deserved hot shower before making our way to the Welsh Open Banquet. Mike and I were inspired by the Norwegian guys at our table and we are planning to organise our own F3F training camp!!

Sunday morning saw us sitting in Peter's car at the road junction by the ice cream van watching the rain falling. And falling... And falling….

After lunchtime it was looking like that would be it for the day but around 2:30 it stopped raining and Rich Bago had had enough sitting around and headed for the Ice Cream slope for a fly and was soon giving his Alliaj big licks. Assuming Rich knew something the rest of us didn’t most of us followed him out to the slope and arrived just as the rain returned. More time under the Sportsbrella followed! However, we did manage to complete round five and fly round six. I didn’t think my 44.xx was much good but others were slower than me because they were unlucky and caught out by the most variable air of the whole competition and I raised my 40th position to 39th.

The lift on Friday and Saturday was fairly consistent (apart from the bad spell I got caught up in round three) but the air on Sunday was definitely variable. In the final round not only did Peter have to fly in indifferent air the sun came out and was hanging right over the climb-out area dazzling any pilot trying to fly there. The pilot who flew just before Peter stuffed his Alliaj when he lost sight of it in the sun.
The standard of flying was excellent and you needed to consistently be getting mid to low 30 times to feature in the top 10. I didn’t envy the organiser’s task of trying to keep everyone happy in the changeable weather conditions. As is normal, the lift was variable but generally not as bad as it could have been. With a field of over 50 pilots and numerous stops for rain only 5 rounds were completed. It was great to see the many different styles of flying.

At the end of the competition, and to save him lugging it all the way back to Norway, Bjorn Tore Hagen was kind enough to give me his camping chair. Thanks Bjorn :o)

The results are on F3F groups and Kevin Newtons's website (knewt) has pictures and more information.

Congratulations to Joel West for a well deserved win. Congratulations should also go to everyone who competed and stuck it out to the end!

Note. If you are ever in Wales and trying to get money from a cash machine, when the machine asks if you want instructions in English or Welsh, don't click Welsh! Prat!
Also, keep an eye open for Welsh beaver! Quite common I believe :o)

Monday, 12 September 2011

Sunday 11 September East Lomond

Keen to try my Vikos and Skorpion before the Welsh Open next week I went up to East Lomond first thing. The forecast was for southerly winds and rain by late morning.

The wind was blowing a fraction west of south which meant flying about as far south on the slope as possible. It was blowing a steady 45 mph but rising to over 50 at times and the lift was very good; about the best I have flown in on this slope. Not stonking but not too far away!! Landings were a bit wild crabbing in along the slope from the north end and letting the model drift back before dropping the brakes and trying to lose enough speed to put it down. Gently!!

The last time I flew my Vikos I broke a tail joiner and the replacement I made was working fine. The one I broke was a 6mm carbon tube with a carbon rod glued inside so I’m hoping my solid 6mm carbon rod replacement will be stronger.

The Vikos will be going to Wales but can’t decide between my speedy Skorp or trusty Race M.

I had about an hour and a half flying before the predicted rain arrived but I had my models back in their bags and was just heading down the slope before the heavy shower hit. Three local lads arrived with Zagis etc but I left them to it and to the rain!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

On my own for the weekend and hoped for great flying every day but today started with heavy rain which eventually eased after lunch and looked like it would brighten up so I took my Race M and Alula up so Kilspindie.

Got there to discover low cloud and fine drizzle. It brightened up after a while and I was able to fly from the east slope with my Alula in the very light wind. A lot of low cloud kept blowing through and my Race M stayed hiding in it’s bag.

I had to move to the south corner when the wind swung and I had another half hour with my Alula before the rain returned and drove me back to the car. No Indian summer yet then!

South wind forecast for Sunday with rain by late morning. Hmmm….

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Discus dancing

I had planned to go to East Lomond this morning but the forecast 8-12mph winds didn’t materialise so I made the shorter trip to Kilspindie where I met up with Ian Stewart. Another optimist!

It was flat calm with hardly any wind at all so we amused ourselves by flying discus launch models. Like me, Ian had brought his Alula and I had also brought my Longshot.

With Ian’s help we got my Longshot flying much more smoothly than I had it set up; Turned out I had way too much elevator dialled in. We spent a while having turns each with it and were rewarded by the odd thermal which prolonged the flights. The Longshot had an issue with the rear wing mounting bolt needing replaced so we resorted to flying our Alulas. I won't mention the Longshot canopy making a bid for freedom after one of Ian's ballistic launches! We had great fun launching our Alulas simultaneously and seeing who could keep their model in the air longest. No score was kept after the first few flights but I have no doubt Ian came out on top.

On my way home I could see the wind finally picking up from the south west. Typical!

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Another one bites the dust!

The Scottish National F3F championships were scheduled for this weekend but the weather beat us once again. Disappointing because we had the potential for a large turnout. Yet another competition lost to the weather with seven cancellations and only three results. No discards then unless we get more events run?

Today was dismal until early afternoon when it did eventually brighten up and the breeze picked up. Been working all day so I'm hoping for a sport fly tomorrow although winds look light.