Sunday, 30 December 2012

Festive Foamie Fun

Nine of us enthusiastic fliers pitched up for the Festive Foamie event. A brilliant turnout in the middle of winter considering several of the regulars were missing. The forecast was for 20 mph sw winds and dry and mild. We got up to 40 mph (full ballast) winds and frequent heavy downpours of rain. The strong winds and wetness made it seem pretty cold too. Fortunately a few had brought Sportbrellas and shelters so we had somewhere to hide during the showers. The showers were heavy and persistent and really disrupted the flow of races. We were lucky if we could fly more than two consecutive races before the next shower hit.
I completely blew my first race when I had a bad start followed by confusion over which model my flagman was flagging! My Reaper was going well though and I felt I was closing the gap between Mike and myself but I dived a wee bit too low along the edge and clipped a wingtip on the slope. My sturdy (fully ballasted) Reaper survived the resulting cartwheel and was soon back in the air.

My last race was a result for me when I managed to win it and beat Peter and his Bluto into the bargain! However, upon landing, Peter discovered huge chunks of the covering on his model was hanging off and would have been a fairly effective airbrake!

After 9 races we called a halt to the proceedings and headed back to the cars to dry out and warm up. Good fun and a bit of a triumph over adversity!!
The temporary camp

Ewan getting ready to go as Mike gives helpful advice!

David getting ready launch

Hiding from the downpours. Peter treating his lurgie with yet another Lemsip!!

Ewan and Mike hiding from the weather. We are under Ewan's Sportbrella. Thanks Ewan :)

Back at the car park and looking up the hill. Rain stopped and cloud has decended!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Mild winter day on East Lomond

The weather put paid to the F3F competition yesterday with more than enough wind but way too much low cloud. We hung around yesterday until after 12 and with no sign of any improvement in the weather Peter called it off. Typically as soon as we got away from the hill we were met by blue skies but looking in my rear view mirror East Lomond was still in cloud.


My base camp on East Lomond

Low winter sun peeping out from the cloud

I was back up the hill this morning by 10:30 to find a nice mild day (7deg C) and 15 mph wind blowing from slightly south of south west. Half ballast in my Extreme and it was chucked in the air and I was happy. It was quite cloudy for the first hour but the sun came out and it got quite thermally at times. Quite sinky at times too!! When the sun came out the wind started to drop to around 10 mph. Still great fun practicing EM style turns. Fast? Not really!! Fun? Absolutely!

Home for a late lunch and ready for my nap now…………..

Monday, 10 December 2012

Stormy day on West Lomond

With the promise of a sunny day and a good north west wind I headed up to Craigmead car park and the long walk to West Lomond. The car park was a sheet of frozen slush/snow and very difficult to walk on! The path along to West Lomond had a patchy covering of the same melted and refrozen snow which made the walk up a challenge because a lot of time was spent walking on the margins of the path or stepping very gingerly on the ice. The strong headwind didn’t help much either.  

The final climb up the path over the shoulder of West Lomond was hard work and by the time I got there I was cream crackered and doubting my sanity!! I had the same doubts later on as I struggled to hang onto my Extreme at the launch point. Turbulent conditions on the edge and a real challenge to hold the model level before letting go!! I had to abandon my second launch because I just could not hold the model level with one hand. It was blowing between 40-50 mph with frequent big gusts.
Low winter sun shows up the folds in the terrain down the hill near the Bunnet Stane (bottom left)
Once away though my fully ballasted Extreme was ballistic in the bumpy air!! Yippee. Landings were a bit hairy because the rotor seemed much worse than usual. The wind was more NNW which swung  it off the slope a bit and may have contributed to the hairy landing approaches.  The low sun on the landing approach was also a real problem and I had a couple of moments where I could hardly see my model. Ahem!!

I had a couple of flights before Peter arrived and having someone else to launch made the whole thing much less fraught. Landings were still hairy though.
Extreme trying to bury it's head in the snow hoping I won't fly it again!
Peter flew his Stinger first it if went like a scalded cat in the big air. He was able to carve some excellent turns although flying a uniform course was tricky in the turbulent air. Peter’s Freestyler also went well but seemed a bit unsettled at times in the bumpy lift. Peter proved the strength of the FS when it fell out of the air on landing and went into the frozen ground nose first. It actually stuck in nose first but survived fine. Strong model!! 

My Extreme resting on the snow in the low winter sun

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Winter League 1. 17 November East Lomond

The forecast for the first F3F competition of the winter league promised wsw winds and clear skies. Well, the wind direction was correct, although much stronger than predicted, but the two downpours were totally unexpected!! All 12 competitors managed to squeeze under two large umbrellas during the rain.

I had arrived sharp, thinking I would be first there, but discovered Mark Treble waiting in the East Lomond car park having driven up from Halifax. We were both keen to get going so we headed up the hill before the rest of the field appeared. Some low wispy cloud didn’t stop me giving my Extreme a test flight and Mark had the chance to try out East Lomond before the competition got going.

I am still trying to get the hang of this open style of flying and kept flying long. Really long, especially on the left hand turn. I blame the speed of the model being too fast for me!!

Ewan on the course as Dave gets ready to launch Robert's P3

My fishing brolly provided shelter but may not be up to the rigors of life on a windy hillside! Sportbrella added to my Christmas list. 

Robert launches David's Race M

Mark Treble's Needle on approach

Damp huddle. Cold and wet; my favourite!!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

The forecast was for a good breeze from the south west and a dry sunny day which apart from the cloud and rain was spot on!!! I was expecting to be on my own but Dave Watson was just getting his boots on when I arrived in the car park so I had company today. Perfect!

Dave flew his Needle and Cyril side by side for comparison but it was hard to see much difference in speed. They are both very fast!!

I flew my Extreme fully ballasted and it was going well and I am sure it had the edge on my Vikos for out and out speed. I spent time trying to perfect these EM turns but struggle to be consistent. Turns on the left seemed to work better in the 25-30mph wind from the ssw. I am so pleased I made the (great) effort to repair this model rather than scrapping it although I try not to think how many hours it took!


Needle too fast for my pocket camera! 

The wind strength increased and Dave had to tape his hat on! 

Hiding from the cold wind.

Minutes after this picture my £12 cheapo fishing shelter (mini SportBrella) took exception to the increasing wind strength and headed off towards Dundee but Dave caught up with it before it disappeared down the back of the hill! That folding articulated section near the centre has to go.

With rain approaching we headed back to the cars and hence to the Pillars of Hercules for tea/coffee and cakes. A grand day out! 

Saturday, 27 October 2012

West Lomond Sat 27 Oct

A northwest wind meant either Gallow Hill near home or the long walk to West Lomond. The last time I flew my Extreme on Gallow Hill I wrecked it quite severely so I made the walk to West Lomond!! It is a much better slope in any case and I enjoyed the walk :-) An hour of mostly easy walking saw me at the slope and a 20-30mph wind was blowing straight on the face. YIPPEE!!!

 Cold today!

 Waymarker (WS 1818 is engraved on the top. One of two boundary markers from when the land in the Lomonds was taken away from the Commoners (under an Act of Parliament in 1815) and divided up amongst local landowners. The Kings Commissioner who oversaw this process was Sir William Rae (hence WR))

You would think 10 seconds would be enough time to pick up model and strike a pose!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Extreme fuselage fit-out

My repaired Extreme is now flying well and the wings look fine but I made no attempt to do a cosmetic repair on the fuselage because had a spare. The spare came from Martin Newnham some time ago and was bought because it is 2.4 gHz friendly and I am keen to join the 21st century!

Two new Hitec 85MG servos installed in the fuselage. Cheap but cheerful!!

The ballast retention system in this fuselage is different from my existing one. I am used to a bespoke screw-in clamp but the new one is different. A study of Pierre Rondel's website revealed that a simple foam disc does the trick. A couple of discs cut from a mouse mat  and a short length of cord all superglued together did the trick! Works well and quick and simple to use! 

New Multiplex six pin plugs wired up and glued into the fuselage so that it will be plug-and-play on the hillside. The wiring was triple checked before switching on. I have heard tales of "magic smoke" if the wiring is wrong!

Tailplane next and then balance before the final changeover.

Monday, 22 October 2012

F3F competition East Lomond 20 October

The weather looked like it was going to spoil the last F3F competition of the 2012 summer season when, despite the favourable forecast, low cloud and rain greeted us in the car park. After getting damp and cold we retreated to the Pillars of Hercules for coffee and cakes and a chinwag. This gave time for Ian Stewart to go home for his cold weather gear; it wasn’t a day for shirt sleeve flying!!
Some time later and once the weather had cleared we returned to the car park and headed up the hill to get started.

I had brought my repaired Extreme along to try it out in competition for the first time and I was well please with way it went. I deliberately flew it heavy and tried to fly an open turn style to keep the speed constant and by the time I had to leave my times had begun to improve. I was concentrating so hard on flying smoothly I kept reaching base B early and wasted a lot of time getting the model heading back the other way. Anticipation required!! A prior commitment meant I had to head off after round six but I was more than happy with the way my Extreme flew because for a while it was looking like it would be heading for the bin! I just need to fit out the new Extreme fuselage I have and it will be done.  

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Early morning flying on East Lomond

My only chance of a flight today was to get out early to make sure I was home before 12 so I was ready to launch from the slope just after 9 o'clock although low cloud blowing throuugh was not encouraging. However, a steady 15mph wind gave me the chance to perfect my EM turns. I watched at lot of the video from the World Championships this week and thought "how hard can that be?". Ha ha!! Gave my Weasel a good thrashing too. Bishop Hill remained in cloud all the time I was flying and it looked like the threat of rain was not far off.

The wind was crossed from the right a bit but my Extreme went well with plenty of ballast and I seem to have resolved the issue I had with lack of throw on the flaps:-) At about 10:30 I could see the cloud on Bishop getting lower and the threat of rain was realised just after 11 and I headed home well happy:-) Bit cold though. Winter not far off now!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

We had to make to long walk to the north west slope at West Lomond today for the foamie competition and it turned out a great day. Especially as I tied with Martin Gibbs for first place. I am sure that if the other regular foamie pilots had been there the final result would have been much different!

At the end of the competition the wind rose and the lift improved significantly. The lift on this slope is usually pretty good even when the wind is light and when it rises……. Epic!! I took the opportunity to give my Extreme a test after I had made some recent adjustments to brake and elevator throw and to the aileron differential. The model went really well and looked fast but hooning about on the edge does not compare to an F3F competition! Landing was much easier with the increased flap movement.

I walked back to the car with Ian and we were treated to the sight of three high performance gliders belting along the north facing slopes.
 At one point they were away over towards East Lomond before they all headed back for West Lomond. They then flew back and forth along the edge several times with steep turns at the end of the ridge. Very impressive!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Extreme repair

I have finally put together some words and pictures to show how I repaired my smashed Extreme. The jig I made is the only part with any merit but I am keen to have some feedback :-)

Monday, 24 September 2012

Brilliant day on East Lomond

The forecast for the F3F competition on Saturday was for light winds and sunny and this was indeed the case. Peter wisely called for a late start and most people gathered at the Pillars of Hercules for coffee and cakes before heading up to the car park about 11:30. I arrived early and went straight up the the car park to check out the weather and fly my Alula from the wee slope to the south of the car park. I decided to skip coffee and cakes and messed around for an hour til the rest of the guys arrived. I only realised when I got home that the text I sent Peter telling him I was at the car park and the winds were light on hill failed to go. Mobiles!!

We finally got up the hill just before lunchtime and found the wind light and well round to the south but quite flyable. I am sure this hill works best when the wind is in that direction and it improves as the wind strengthens (unlike the south west face!). Great visibilty today too with the Bass Rock, Berwick Law, Salisbury Crags, Arthur's Seat and Hillend ski slope all quite visble.

There were only seven of us today (Peter, Ewan, Dave, Mike, Robert, Ian Simpson and me) and we flew eight rounds interspersed by breaks to allow a couple of paracenders to jump off the hill although they ended up at the bottom and had to trudge back up J. Several of the regulars were missing but maybe we will get a better turn-out next month for the last of the summer league. Summer? Whazzat?
I had a really good day out and even managed to win a round after blundering into a nice thermal :-)

I took some pictures with my cheap (very cheap) wee camera and they can be seen here:-

Dave Watson took some excellent photographs and they can be seen here:-

Monday, 3 September 2012

Scottish Slope Nationals weekend

60” EPP Foamies on Saturday and F3F on Sunday.

A group of us keen foamie fliers turned up at East Lomond on Saturday morning to discover low cloud and rain. We hung about for a while before decamping to the Pillars of Hercules for some coffee and cakes and to hide from the weather. After an hour of chat and banter we went back up to the East Lomond car park and found there had been no improvement in the weather  so we headed to  Kilspindie for a sport fly; assuming the lower hill would be clear of cloud which it was. Not fancying another 30 minutes driving in the “wrong” direction Colin Murray headed south of the Forth to sport fly locally on his home slopes.

When we got to the south-west slope of Pole Hill we were able to set up a 60” EPP course and we flew 15 rounds of two up flying which meant everyone flew against everyone else. During test flying Ewan and I has a mid-air which neatly unplugged the battery from the receiver in my Reaper which subsequently hit the ground hard and meant I had to revert to my modified Fastbak for the competition. Mike gave his lovely new Stinger a test flight too and planned to fly it on Sunday at the F3F competition.

After the race much time was spent throwing sticks at David’s Skua which had ended well up a tree where it was firmly lodged.

He and Peter returned on Sunday evening to finally dislodge the poor model which was not too badly affected by spending a day up a tree!


The F3F event on Sunday looked less promising when the farmer decided we could not access the private road to let us park in our usual place at the back of Bishop Hill. Somewhat nonplussed we discussed other options and decided we would climb up from Kinnesswood and still fly on Bishop Hill. A very steep 1000ft climb but all 14 of us made it!! I was well impressed by my climb up the hill because I really feel the benefit of losing 3 and a half stones!

A rest on the way up

The weather at the top looked a bit grim for a while when we first arrived and I wandered about on my own for five minutes looking for the path to the slope when I met up with Tom Foreman who was also “temporarily unsure of his position”! After a minor detour we found the path and joined Paul Upton and Ewan Maxwell at the slope and waited for the rest to arrive. When Peter arrived we quickly setup the course anticipating the weather would improve which it did.
I had a great day and felt I flew smoothly but just not accurate enough. I flew my Vikos which went well in the early rounds but as the wind rose I felt the fully ballasted model was a bit light. My times continued to improve though so how much better my Extreme would have been I don’t know. Still a brilliant day though.

By the time I had descended the hill at the end of the day my legs were trembling. That path is STEEP!!
A brilliant turn-out and another excellent day on Bishop. Great to see support from Tom and Paul who made the journey up from Lancashire to join us for the day.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Foamie competition. Not!

The possibility of a foamie competition looked doubtful all week but the forecast suddenly improved Friday afternoon and we headed for Craigmead car park today to find a nice dry day and a light north easterly wind. Peter, Mike, Ewan, Ian Stewart and myself were up for some foamie action!

We did some sport flying when we first got to the slope and the light conditions were flyable but the lift steadily dropped until after an hour the lift became too light for foamies to stay up. Peter showed the difference in performance a moulded model has when he flew his lovely Needle. Even the Needle began to struggle after a while but Mike heaved off his Gulp as the wind swung east and off the slope. A walk down the hill to retrieve the Gulp was required!

Approaching rain saw us head for the cars. Summer weather again!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

A comment on my landings

I was off work on Wednesday and nipped up to Kilspindie with my repaired Extreme to try out the adjustments I had made to control throws and differential. It was blowing a hoolie on the south west slope although cocked-off to the west and well crossed. The increased elevator throw I dialled in has made it more responsive although when I was trying some structural testing (vertical dive followed by very tight loops) I found it will flick quite nicely!! Maybe I will take out a little of the increased throw.

At first I thought the model seemed a bit slow and sluggish in the strong wind but when loaded up with ballast it was transformed. Yippee. 
During one of the landings I undershot a little and found a hidden hazard! Fortunately (?), for the model, the hazard was not dried out (or frozen) and was still nice and soft. Oooh, yukkie!! Once pulled out of the pile of poo, the half inch layer of sticky, smelly stuff on the bottom and top of the wing was a challenge to remove with only a paper tissue and many handfuls of grass! The bottom (ha ha!) surface was covered front to back!! Icky!!