Sunday, 14 December 2014

F3F Winter League 2. Cancelled. Coffee and cakes instead!

15MPH winds and dry and cold was a pretty good forecast for the second round of the Winter F3F league and six of us turned up eager to get going. We were all hoping to bang in a few good rounds before heading for the Pillars of Hercules cafe to thaw out. 
View south
From past experience I did have slight concerns about how passable the access road up the hill would be if there was snow and ice left over from the recent wintry days. The drive over to East Lomond was fine and the roads and fields completely clear but as soon as I started driving up the hill it was obvious there was packed snow and ice on the roadway. (This area is a national park and is not salted/gritted) I managed to drive about 150m up the road before I spotted Ewan waiting in a passing place for a Volvo, stuck 50m further on, to clear the road. I pulled in behind Ewan’s Scooby Forrester. Despite new tyres on the front of my car I could tell I would not be getting all the way up to the car park. Dave and Robert turned up and they could get no further up the road and in fact had a job getting moving again at all. Ewan had a plan though!

We drove back down to the start of the access road and parked the cars and packed all our kit into Ewan’s car and Ewan easily drove all the way up and dropped Ian and myself off with the kit before he headed back down to collect the rest of the chaps

Only possible to get this far up the road in a 4x4

Ewan's Scooby
Eventually we were all in the car park playing with some snowmen who were already there and watched as low cloud formed on the face of the hill and blowing over the top precluding any flying. We hung around for a while getting cold before we abandoned plans for a competition and repeated the ferrying trips before we headed off for coffee and cakes in the Pillars.

Waiting for the rest of the guys to be ferried up to the car park. Low cloud already forming at the top.

Rather than wait in the cold for Ewan to return to collect us we started walking.
Thanks to Ewan for bringing the correct equipment and for acting as hillside taxi service. I am jealous! I need one of them!!

Monday, 8 December 2014

Northern F3F Winter League round 2

The forecast wind direction for round two of the Northern F3F Winter league looked somewhat ambiguous but Jon Edison’s decision to go for the south bowl was spot on. When we first got to the slope the wind strength was hovering around the minimum for a while but picked up a little and we were able to get going mid-morning. Light (fairly cold) winds with little variation prevailed all day so it was great to try different models, settings, ballast etc. I had a real problem getting the right hand base nailed and kept cutting or wanting to cut right up until the last round. As Ronnie Lampe said in a stage whisper, I was “flying like a twat!!” 

I flew my Stinger for 5 of the 7 rounds and switched to my Precision for the last two. The models flew fine. Me? Less so!!

Peter has a way to go to catch-up with Mark's ZZ Top look!
Peter switched between his FS3 and his Jedi several times and finished in fourth place, only one point behind third place man (Paul Upton).  Close at the top. I was well down the field (twat!)

A bit of wheeling and dealing also took place, Peter collected a set of alloy wheels shod with nice winter tyres for his car as well as passing his Stinger to Mark Treble for ultimate handing on to its new owner via the “F3F network”. I collected my new (to me)  Futaba FX30 transmitter from Martin Newnham. I just need to work out how it all works. It is lovely though.  

A Christmas present to myself

Monday, 1 December 2014

Gallow Hill Sunday 30 November

The wind was forecast to be south easterly on Saturday and Peter and I had hoped to try out a new hill near Dundee but the mist/low cloud and rain put paid to that idea. It stayed pretty gloomy and damp all day.

The wind was forecast to swing to the north-west on Sunday which it did but it was very light, 3-8mph which didn't encourage me to go to Craigmead and walk along to West Lomond. However I did take my Longshot DLG up to my local nw slope at Gallow Hill. The wind was light but it was a nice day and I fancied a walk. Having been so wet recently and the road is usually pretty muddy at best I didn’t park at the tv mast but took the longer walk up from Hillside of Prieston.

Longshot with Strathmore in the background
It was a lovely day when I got there and I initially regretted not taking an F3F model because it was blowing about 10mph but within half an hour the wind dropped down to around half that and although my Stinger would have flown it would not have been a lot of fun.
Trying to hit myself!

 However my Longshot went really well and I was able to keep it in close to the slope and skim along the “edge” with low-level loops, stall turns and rolls thrown in for fun. I even managed to take some selfies with the camera on my phone.

As I headed home for a late lunch in the bright sunshine and the fabby views north over Strathmore and south over the Tay and Fife I remembered one of the reasons I love this hobby!! The scenery can be awesome! By this time there was hardly a breath on wind.

TV mast on Gallow Hill with Angus Mearns beyond
Wreckage of the Avro Anson which crashed here during WW2 on a ferry flight having descended too low and tragically flew into the hilltop killing the pilot. Looking at the location of the crash site another 10 feet higher would have missed the hill. Mainly undercarriage parts I suspect.

Spotted this stone waymarker on the way back down the hill. There is a D on the opposite side. 

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

East Lomond Sunday 23 Nov

Last weekend was a washout due to the poor (wet) weather and when Peter sent out an email suggesting we have a fly on East Lomond on Sunday I was more than keen! The forecast was for wsw winds about 10-15mph and dry with sunshine which is pretty much what we got. Not bad for the end of November.

When I arrived late Sunday morning Dave and Ewan were already there and flying. I quickly put together my Stinger and launched off into the 10-15mph wind. Dave and Ewan confirmed that the wind had been crossed from the west but it was slowly straightening up. My Stinger was going quite well but felt light with the 415g I had in the fuselage. I landed and put two lead bars in the rear joiner compartment which took the weight up so 900g. Much better but never felt heavy apart from when first launched.

Dave's Pitbull takes to the air

Launched and looking for the epic lift!!
Peter soon joined us and his Baudi Jedi was looking as fast as ever. Apart from my Samba Models Pike Precision it was almost a Baudis Models only day! Ewan was flying his Cyril and Dave his Pitbull. Baudis models are becoming very popular in the UK.

We were eventually joined by some of the local lads with foamies etc and were subsequently joined by several paragliders. We had had a pretty good fly so decided we deserved a coffee/tea and cake in the Pillars of Hercules hippy café. A fine end to a good flying session.

Monday, 10 November 2014

F3F 2014-15 Winter league Round 1.

The forecast for the 1st round of the winter league was for light ssw winds swinging s-sse by early afternoon which is pretty much what happened.

Dave's Pitbull looking for lunch!
We got going reasonably quickly and managed to squeeze in 6 rounds before the wind swung off the hill.

I flew my Precision but struggled to get used to the offset course. With a ssw wind blowing we had to set up the course well over to the left and I could not get to grips with the turn on the right-hand base and flew long that end. Really long!! I was getting a little better by the last round and a few more rounds may have pulled up my score but on the other hand, maybe not! We stopped for lunch after round 6 and watched the wind continue to swing until it was parallel to the slope so we headed off to the Pillars of Hercules for hot drinks and cakes! Perfect!

Winter Light

Sunday morning was really still but the forecast suggested a light sw wind so I headed up to Dodd Hill with my Longshot. There was a barely detectable movement of air on the sw slope and all I managed was to get a few passes along the slope before landing. One or two thermal bumps but nothing to get any real height under the wings. After countless launches I finally managed to knock the tailplane off on landing and headed back home for a late lunch.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Hole of Horcum. Winter League 1

Winter leagues already?

The first event of the 2014-15 Northern F3F Winter League took place at the Hole of Horcum on Saturday. Despite a later departure of 04:30 Peter got us there bang on time at 9 am. Dave arrived immediately after us having been right behind us from where he stayed in Middlesbrough on Saturday night.
After a brief discussion in the car park about the south-west wind swinging south-south-west later in the day Jon had us all head for Levisham with the likelihood of having to relocate to the south bowl after lunch which is indeed what happened.
The lift on Levisham was very variable but we flew four rounds (enough to call it a comp if we couldn’t get going on the south  bowl) before we headed back to the Saltergate car park where we met up earlier. The south bowl was working well when we got there.
Ronnie getting ready to lauch a Strega
Jon's Needle getting heaved off
Needle launched
Dave Watson flew his new Pitbull and it was going well and looked like it has great potential. Dave was flying immediately after me in the flying order so I didn’t get much chance to watch him fly. Peter flew his Jedi and it really does seem to suit his flying style. Fast!! Peter had a really bad cut on the south bowl (Dave may have a video of this to torture Peter with!) which cost him valuable time. Peter also fell foul to a buzzing error on a very fast run and was understandably a bit miffed!

South Bowl action
I flew my Pike Precision which was going quite well until round 6. Round 5 went very well and I got a reasonable 42.60 (fifth place in the round) and was looking forward to a few more good times in the steady wind but it wasn’t to be. After launch in round 6 I was immediately thinking all was not well and that I was in some horrible variable sinky air; pumping was not going well. As soon as I flew the model on course and banked for turn one I knew something was seriously amiss with the model. I aborted the round and flew off the course to attempt a landing. The model was rolling ok to the right but very sluggish and wallowy to the right and I suspected I had lost an aileron servo. Several attempts at landing revealed issues with the left flap too. Landing my Precision with 1.3kg of ballast, no brake on the left wing and poor aileron response certainly concentrated my mind! I did discover F3F models don’t side-slip very well! I eventually got it down in one piece (about a third flap, full left aileron and rudder and full down were required; juggling the descent rate with the one remaining flap adjusting the aileron and rudder accordingly). Phew!

The cause? The Multiplex greenie plug (non-too expertly) glued into the wing-root by me had come adrift and pushed inside the wing. The model flew fine the previous flight but the landing must have dislodged the dodgy connection. I was happy to still have an intact model.
I had stupidly left my reserve model in Peter’s car and with only one more round to go I gave up at this point. In fact another two rounds were flown and the last one was in the fading light.
Flying by moonlight!
A great start to the winter leagues.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Hole of Horcum. The last BMFA summer league 2014

On Saturday evening after dinner I set out to drive to Horcum for the last of the BMFA F3F league events and I questioned how sensible this was? Not sensible at all of course but I had a great day out in challenging conditions.

On the way south there were a couple of sections of the A1 closed and diversions in place which slowed progress a little. The first section closed was near Eyemouth but shortly after I took the diversion Doris (satnav lady) directed me along a side road which got narrower and muddier but eventually got us back on the A1 south. After about 15 minutes back on track I began to think the road was really quiet (only me) but I then came to a barrier and lots of flashing amber lights. I was able to squeeze the car through a gap in the barrier and a quick glance back confirmed what I suspected. Road closed! Oops! Maybe I should have followed the diversion signs.

On Saturday night I stayed at the Blue Bell Lodge in Middlesbourgh which is just off the A174 and it was a reasonable place to stay. Friendly staff and for £45 for a twin room good value. Tesco shop and petrol station just across the road too. Less than an hour to drive to Horcum which is much better than leaving home at 03:30! 

On Sunday morning I met up with the others and after a bit of discussion in the car park we all headed for Levisham. The forecast showed it would be crossed from the left but would straighten up as the day progressed which it did. The wind was strong all day and early afternoon it was getting wild but times were coming down too. Carrying the models back from landing was a challenge particularly when you got near the pit area where the rotor was BAD! Landing there would not end well. By the end of the day my right hand was sore from clutching my Precision carrying it back from landing and from launching other models. Trying to hang on to a fully ballasted model on the edge of the slope for launch was a bit scary and hard work!  

Peter and his Jedi

The holidaying Peter flew his Jedi really well and ended up in second place and the FTD which at 31.xx must be close to his Personal Best. With a couple of sub-40s and some low 40s I was chuffed with 8th place.

I pinched this picture of yours truly from Paul Middleton's Facebook page. 

Despite the same traffic diversions on the way home (I ignored Doris this time) and after a five hour non-stop drive I was back home just after 10. 

Monday, 29 September 2014

Digging it on East Lomond!

The promise of a brisk south westerly wind saw me heading over to East Lomond on Saturday to meet up with Dave and Peter. Dave was planning to fly his new Pitbull for the first time and it looked like a perfect day as I drove up the access road. Bright and quite sunny too. When I reached the car park there were so many cars already there I struggled to find a parking space! I did manage to get a reasonable space when a car left but when I got out of the car I was amazed to see a fairly large group of people standing on top of the hill and right next to where we fly. Dave was already in the car park and was as perplexed as I was. A bit of questioning of people already there revealed there was an archaeological dig going on under the management of the Living Lomonds project. Flying from our usual spot was just not going to happen today. Peter arrived shortly afterwards and we thought we should be okay flying from the shoulder of the hill just short of the fence and gate.

The wind was a bit crossed when we got there but Peter soon had his model in the air and proved it was flyable although not ideal. I headed up to the dig (Mr Nosey) and spoke to the very helpful Sarah and was reassured to hear that they were only going to be there for another week and should be gone before out next scheduled competition on 11 October. The actual project looks interesting and is basically trying to involve the local community in local archaeology. Quite fascinating to think that in Iron Age times people lived their lives on our slopes!

I got back to Dave and Peter just as Dave’s Pitbull was launched for the first time. It looked very smooth and lovely. Quick too.
Dave's Pitbull gets away for the first time.
On my second flight the wind straightened up and my Precision was soon going really well. Yippee! Unfortunately the crossed conditions returned so we gave up. Peter and I nipped over to check out a low coastal slope at Buckhaven. The slope looks promising but a bit daunting for the first time. The actual slope consists of a strip of huge bolders which have been put there to prevent coastal erosion. There is nowhere to land out other than the sea so I would want to try the slope with a foamy for the first time. Next timeJ

Sunday morning saw me up Pole Hill with my Stinger. The wind was still south westerly and increased from about 15mph when I first arrived to 30mph+ when I left. This gave me a good chance to try different amounts of ballast.

The Stinger goes really well and maintains speed in the turn. It seems odd on the climb-out because it needs flap to gain height without a lot of back stick although once the nose goes down without flap and it gets up to speed it is off!
Home in time for a late lunch followed by some family time :-)  


Monday, 15 September 2014

A grand day out on Kilspindie. Sunday 14 Sept

The promise of dry weather and a light easterly made Kilspindie the destination today. Having seen the forecast I had emailed Dave and Peter on Friday suggesting a Sunday fly and Dave was already there and walking up the hill when I arrived.

Dave sorting the ballast in his Stinger
When I got to the top Dave was flying his Stinger in the light easterly which was pretty well straight on the slope. Dave’s Stinger looked very smooth and swift. I quickly put my own Stinger together and heaved it off shortly after Dave had landed. My Stinger coped pretty well with the light lift (no ballast) and was going well although it was quite a contrast to the last session on West Lomond which was in stonking air!

Peter joined us shortly afterwards and he seemed to bring improving conditions with him because the lift started to build. Peter is still dialling in his new Jedi and at one point tried flying with much less snap-flap than he had been using which appeared to transform the Jedi in the turns! Yippee!!

Peter's Jedi is too fast for my point and press camera!
After a few flights with my Stinger I switched to my Precision and was immediately impressed by how well it was going, apparently much swifter than the Stinger. However, a change back to the Stinger with some ballast added showed it was the lift that had improved a lot and the Stinger was looking fast too. I had increased the aileron throw since last week by 20% and was much happier with the roll rate. Big smiles!!

Stinger and Pike Precision

The final flights of the day were in really good air and were most enjoyable. Dave had brought along his Cyril and it got some stick time too as did Peter’s FS3.
It turned out to be a very enjoyable afternoon.

Flying done I headed back to my mother-in-law’s for Sunday dinner and steak pie. A grand day out!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Stinger maiden on West Lomond

It all turned out a bit rushed but I was finally able to get my Stinger in the air on Sunday morning. It meant the two and a quarter mile hike to the North West slope at West Lomond but when I got there the wind was blowing about 30mph straight on the slope. Ideal for a maiden flight!

Landed after first flight.
A range test followed by a final check that all the waggly bits moved in the correct direction and the addition of about 320g of ballast saw the Stinger committed to the air. Not one click of trim was needed and it flew very nicely. EM seems to suit it well and turns can be tight without losing speed. The roll rate is a little bit slow for me so some tweaks needed there but the rest seems pretty close. Axial rolls and hands off inverted. Cool. Dive test showed no tendency to recover so cg must be close. Crow brake mixing seemed good too and landing was easy enough with the powerful braking action. More ballast was added to bring it up to 570g and the Stinger was off again. A lack of time means that I will have to explore ballast limits at a later date but is goes very well even when light. I would fly my Pike with at least 1200g in similar conditions but the Pike does carry ballast well. The concensus on the Stinger seems to be to keep it lighter.

Dashed home well pleased.
This marker stone is next to the path and well known

I spotted this less weathered marker stone is hiding in a boundary wall.
"Found in many places over the Lomond Hills these stones are boundary markers from when the land in the Lomonds was taken away from the commoners and divided up amongst the local Land owners. This happened after an Act of Parliament in 1815 and the name of the Kings Commissioner who oversaw the process was Sir William Rae hence WR 1818"

Monday, 1 September 2014

Scottish Slope National Championship

Saturday was foamie day and we headed for Bishop to find a healthy 30+mph wind blowing almost straight on the slope.

It was great to have a foamie race with a reasonable number of people in excellent conditions. There was very little difference in speed between the various models (Bluto, Gulp, Odyssey, Reaper and “Dysentery” etc) and accurate and consistent flying was required. My Reaper likes the big wind conditions and I was more than pleased to finish 4th equal with Richard. Richard won the fly-off with me but it was pretty close!
All the races were exciting and lots of banter and leg-pulling made for a brilliant day.

Sunday was F3F day on East Lomond and I was completely taken aback to be runner up and get FTD.
Jedi away

Greg's Freestyler on the course as Mike's Precision waits to launch

I was really lucky to only get one round of rubbish air and my Precision seems to revel in medium to light wind conditions. Ewan seemed to get the opposite with only one round of decent air!
No Jacket!

Which way is north?
A brilliant weekend of racing.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

East Lomond

Had a really good morning on East Lomond this morning. 20mph wind.

When I first arrived at the slope about 10am the wind was blowing westerly and was quite crossed but my Weasel Evo coped well so my Extreme was loaded with half ballast and it went well too.
You can tell it is mid-summer because the grass is so tall!
Quite thermally at time and some great lift was found close to the edge at times. Yippee! The air was variable though and at one point massive sink came through and despite a reasonable wind on the slope the lift wasn't there. Stuck the Extreme nose down and got out of there as soon as possible.

Showers in the far distance
Nice day eh?
After an hour the wind squared up, the sun came out and East Lomond was at its best.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Practice comp Glentane Hill. BMFA round cancelled

The poor number of pilots registered for the scheduled BMFA F3F round lead to the competition being cancelled for Sunday 13th. Disappointing.  
Kaime Hill in the distance
However, the good forecast for the west coast saw 6 of us gather at Kaime Hill on Sunday morning to discover the forecast west wind was blowing north west. Fortunately, local flier David Reid, was able to take us up to the nearby Glentane Hill which worked very well.

Getting the course set-up
It was a day when three out of six models flown were VV Stingers (Peter Gunning, David Reid and Dave Watson) and they all went very well. Mark Treble flew his Freestyler and Robert Carson his Fosa. Dave also flew his Cyril and Peter his FS4. During the break before we got started Mark also test flew his electric powered Shwing. A little too much elevator throw made it a touch twitchy! Not short of power either when the motor was on!

I flew my Precision with its new tungsten ballast. 1.3 kg all on the cg. Perfect. I can still add over another kg.
Robert concentrating on his Fosa
View from base A

View from base B

Cyril and ore terminal in background

Peter using big thermal to pick up energy
This new hill worked  quite nicely and views were tremendous.

Thanks once more to Peter for organising the day and for doing the driving. We even managed a quick visit to T-in-the-Park on the way home!