Monday, 31 March 2014

East wind on Kilspindie

The overcast conditions on Saturday made me a bit wary of heading for Kilspindie because it is often covered in low cloud and mist when the haar blows in from the North Sea. It was really gloomy but the wind was smack on the east slope and blowing a good 25+mph. Ace!

Dave Watson was already there when I arrived and had setup base camp with his Sportbrella. My fishing brolly didn't like the rotor behind the slope so I put it away again before it blew away.

Just after Dave's Stinger took to the air we were joined by Peter fresh from his trip to Wales last weekend.

Dave's Stinger looked very speedy as it zipped back and forth on the slope in the good conditions. Peter had also brought his Stinger and it too was looking fast carving nice em turns in the cold but lifty air. Excellent.

My Pike Precision was looking fast too and on the odd occasion when I got the turns right it felt very speedy. If I could string together 10 good turns it would be helpful. On a couple of occasions I noticed that zooming straight up after building up speed could see the model start to disappear into the cloud. 

It was quite cold so we were happy to take turns each and fly for about 10-15 minutes before landing to seek shelter behind Dave'e Sportbrella for a nice hot drink. Dave was unlucky and knocked a wing servo loose on landing but the application of some superglue remedied that quite quickly although the cold temperature slowed up the curing time for the glue.

A good practice session before the trip to Horcum next Sunday for the first of the BMFA summer league. Summer? Hmmm...

I went back up Kilsindie on Sunday but the top was shrouded in low cloud and visibilty was about 25 meters at best. At least the walk in the fresh air helped to clear my stuffed up nose and sinues. Walking back over the moor in poor visibilty showed how easy it is to lose the path and end up having a slightly longer walk than intended!!

Visibility not great on Sunday

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Knock of Formal.

Tried a new (to me) westerly slope today. Knock of Formal. Near Kirriemuir.

I wasn't able to go the the Hole of Horcum reserve competition and didn't fancy the big climb up Bishop so I thought I would try a hill suggested by Hugh Barker. Coincidentally Peter was seeing a client in Angus and was able to join me on the hill about lunchtime.

Knock of Formal

The view north towards the Angus glens

Looking south over Strathmore from the south ridge

The wind was blowing a good 35mph+ and my Extreme was going well with full ballast in the sometimes bumpy air. The air was quite thermic at times and the models ballistic on occasion. Peter's Freestyler was going like a rocket. Yippee!

Looking east towards Loch of Lintrathen and the Mearns

Freestyler crowing
The new slope is used by paragliders so only good for us on windy days. The west slope has a bit of an East Lomond curve on it but there is a southerly ridge which looks promising and worth a try sometime. 

Great to have a good fly on a new hill.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Dodging the weather

With Peter away for the weekend I was left with the F3F gear and the decision whether the competition should go ahead on Saturday. The forecast was poor with heavy rain overnight clearing about lunchtime and strong ssw winds so after some cogitation and a quick call to Dave Watson for a second opinion, I called it off. When I got up on Saturday it looked like I had got it wrong because it was dry and quite bright. This didn’t last though and by 9:30 the rain started. The rain here in Monifieth kept up until after one o’clock. After lunch I nipped up to Dodd Hill with my Reaper EPP foamie. It was dry and blowing about 50mph from the south; not the best direction for this hill.
Bright sunshine
My ballasted Weasel went pretty well although I had a couple of buttock clenching moments in the bumpy air. At one point and without any warning the Reaper flew into a huge hole in the lift and plummeted end over end towards the ploughed field below. Some brilliant piloting, easily mistaken by those less well informed as blind luck, saw the model skim low over the field before finding some smooth air and getting back up to a comfortable height.

Also, I noticed at one point that there was some good slope lift behind me above the quarry and I deliberately tried letting the model drift back only to discover there was plenty of wind but not much lift further back and the model was having real trouble making any headway. There is a big quarry hole there and I suspect some mighty rotor and I was expecting the model to drop into the excavation at any point but some more of that aforementioned brilliant piloting saw the Reaper make it back into the lift eventually. Phew!! 
Gorse bush model catcher!
I used my usual gorse bush as model catcher to good effect and only missed it once. The surface round about the old quarry is very rocky indeed and landing on it is best avoided!

At one point I thought my Reaper was going to join this Hillman Imp in the old quarry. I used to have one.
Good fun.

Sunday morning saw me up at Pole Hill with my Ascot in a steady 20mph. Very smooth. I had intended going to East Lomond but I made the right decision because I couldn’t see East Lomond or Bishop because it looked pretty dismal over in central Fife.
Hard to catch an F3F model with a small camera while trying to maintain some kind of control.

East Lomond should be visible in the distance but it is hiding in the murk

Sunday, 2 March 2014

East Lomond practice day.

On Friday evening I was all set for a trip to the Hole of Horcum on Saturday for a round of the F3F winter league but it was cancelled early Friday evening. I had the car part loaded, batteries charged, sandwiches made up and alarm set for 3.15. Disappointed? Absolutely! Oh well, no need for an early start but Peter suggested anyone up for a fly should head for East Lomond about 10:00.

I arrived early and spotted three chaps heading up to the slope with paragliders. Two more paraglider pilots headed up to join the others. Hmmm… Peter arrived first followed by Dave and Robert. After some chatting we decided that with the 15mph wind well round to the south, south west we could fly from the shoulder of the hill before the gate which we did and it was excellent. There was a delay in me getting flying because I had decided to leave one model in the car and only carry my Ascot up the hill. Guess I should have taken the Ascot wings and not the Precision ones then! A walk back to the car was called for to collect the Ascot wings as well as the Precision fuselage and ballast. Two models to fly after all then!!

Peter flew his Freestyler 4 and his Stinger and they both went really well in the improving conditions. The occasional thermal really got the models going well.

A clean-shaven Dave flew his nippy Stinger and it was looking very competitive. Robert flew his recently acquired Fosa and it also looked fast and very smooth.

As the wind picked up we added ballast and the models all responded to the improving lift conditions. By this time the wind was too much for the paragliders and they headed off, leaving the main slope clear, but we were happy to stay where we were.

By mid afternoon we were all ready for a visit to the Pillars of Hercules for a coffee and a cake and look forward to our competition next Saturday.