Sunday, 3 March 2013

Bishop Hill and Ascot Maiden

I was all set for getting up at 3:30 am for the trip down to the Hole of Horcum but the forecast for light and variable winds meant Jon called the competition off on Friday evening. As an alternative Peter suggested climbing up the front of Bishop Hill because light westerly winds were forecast. I wasn’t too enthusiast at the time but by morning I had sent a text to Peter and headed for Kinnesswood and the long climb.

I arrived before Peter and he can just be seen walking up from the bottom.

I had switched models, left my Extreme at home, and had taken my unflown Ascot. This would also be the first time I had flown an F3F model on 2.4gHz. After a good range test and countless “final” checks of the controls and that they were moving in the correct direct the Ascot took to the air and flew really well. Very smooth in the light wind although a little up trim was needed for level flight. Turns nicely. Peter arrived at this moment and conformed it was looking good. I put it down to his fitting out of the Ascot!!

The first landing was very smooth and I put in the wing ballast for the next flight. The wing ballast moves the cg back a little and I was able to take the up trim out. A dive test showed no tendency to pull out or tuck-under so the cg must be close. Excellent.

Peter had brought his Stinger and it was going like stink and carving nice smooth, tight and fast turns. Peter’s Stinger always looks smooth and in the bright sunshine it looked a picture as he kept one eye on all the paragliders and fullsize gliders flying along the slope. One fullsize glider seemed determined to claim “his” bit of air and was often weaving in and out of the pillowcases!

Busy up here.

Stinger too fast for me to catch with my wee camera!

Paragliders turning away and giving us room

On my third flight with the Ascot the wind suddenly swung at right angles from the north and was blowing along the slope. The air was now very bumpy and sinky so I pushed out from the slope to wait for the wind to come back on the slope. It didn’t! Peter suggested I head the model over to the north end of the hill hoping to find some lift and I was already heading the Ascot in that direction. Nothing, only BIG sink and it fell out of the air right on top of a wire fence. “Oh bother!” The wire had cut into the leading edge of one wing in two places and taken a notch out of the flap on the other wing and knocked the flap servo loose. The leading edge damage is a pain but repairable and structure should be sound. The aileron neutral position on that wing has move so will need investigation but it could have been much worse. Still hacked off though!

After I had retrieved the model Peter pointed out how many of the paragliders were now landed out at the bottom of the hill and the fullsize were back down at the airfield so I wasn’t the only one caught out.

The wind stayed blowing from the north so we heading back to the cars passing several paraglider pilots trudging up the hill.

Apart from the damage to the Ascot it was well worth the big climb and my Alula wasn’t needed.

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