Monday, 9 November 2015

McTurbulator? Sunday 8 November.

The blog hasn’t been updated because I hadn’t seen much of interest other than competitions which are reported elsewhere. (Slopeglide was an eye-opener and showed how vital pumping is on East Lomond)

Saturday was a washout for me with rain all day and the forecast for Sunday was rain returning mid-morning. I didn’t fancy my chances of getting flying on any of our usual slopes in the predicted south-east wind and the two slopes I had in mind (Lundie Craigs or Dunnichen Hill) mean a bit of a drive and a walk which would have wasted time getting to the slope before the rain arrived.

I have flown from the beach at East Haven (15 min drive from my house) before and it was never great but I took my Weasel Evo out for an airing and flew it for a while in the 25 mph bumpy/patchy lift from the beach/dune edge not far from the car park. Like before it wasn’t too great but flyable. Despite the forecast the weather looked quite settled so I headed out along the coastal path to a section of the beach which the OS map suggested the edge was a bit higher. Only about a mile walk along the good path to the point where the main path carries on parallel to the railway and a roughish path splits away to the right to follow the dune edge and I got to a section which is about 20 feet above the sand.
Weasel Evo over the beach
There was more lift there but my Evo was still finding the lift patchy and variable. I flew around for a while and had a couple of landings which were a bit hairy. Nasty rotor back from the edge. I had several flights and was thinking it was a bit disappointing so started messing around swooping and diving along the edge when I had a revelation. My Weasel Evo is too light to pump very well but something was going on. If I tried following the same kind of flight-path I have seen on some of the Rugen videos it all smoothed out. My conclusions are:-
  •          The lift band is narrow. Too far out and the model heads for the beach and retrieving from the beach is no fun. How do I know?
  •          Too far back over the edge of the path there is only compression and no lift and you are “landing”! Ooops!
  •          Stay in the sweet spot along the edge and swoop up at each end into a tight EM style turn and back along the edge and it works well!   
Weasel Evo about as far out as the good lift extends. Closer in is better but taking a picture without burying my poor Evo on the edge would be challenge

Weasel having a rest
I so wished I had taken my Odyssey or Reaper foamies. An F3F model would be brilliant but landing would the problem. Behind the path the land drops gently to a fenced field (with stiles though) but the rotor seems bad there but may be okay farther back. Beyond the field (75 metres?) is the path and the railway line and beyond that the water treatment works/golf course. I intend taking my old Spark F3F next time there is a good South Easterly and I’m sure if there is enough wind you could kite the model down onto the path with careful use of the brakes and lift/compression on the path edge. Catch it? Or maybe land on the sand on the beach?

There is a better looking slope a little farther along which would suit an East-South-East wind and a wider beach area for landing but was too crossed for me to try on Sunday.
Another 1/4 mile farther east. Slope would suit East-South-East.
I got back to the car just as the rain arrived which put paid to my plans to come back with my Odyssey after lunch.

Monday, 14 September 2015

South wind on East Lomond. Sunday 13 Sept 15

A southerly wind direction is a bit awkward for my local hills but the shoulder of East Lomond (just off the path and before the fence) can be good. When I arrived the wind was blowing about 10mph and was working ok. After a while I convinced myself I would be better on top of the hill and relocated myself and my kit up to the top of the hill but well to the east of the usual flying area.

Half an hour later and after much wandering about on the edge of the slope flying my Cyril on imaginary F3F courses I was back down where I first started!

The wind remained light but the Cyril was carrying 500g of brass well and I had fun when thermals blew through. Yippee!

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

BARCS F3F league reserve. Hawes 6 September

Easy access to a slope with great potential was a treat.

Long walk to the launch point!
Peter had a fairly fraught start to the day when he spotted an issue with his tx. All his models had a big dollop of down trim which shouldn’t have been there. The consensus seemed to be there was a problem with the potentiometer having moved position. Fortunately I have the same transmitter and Peter was able to take the sd card out of his tx and load his models onto my tranny. Peter was flying first and it was all a bit of a rush so he was not exactly relaxed as he launched for the start of the first round.

Watching Peter flying it looked at first as if he was flying really long but it was in fact the timing gear which didn’t actually beep when the button was pressed for about a third of a second! Three rounds were flown like this and it was a bit of a mess. The trick was to really anticipate the turn and hope for the best. Fortunately after round three some frantic fiddling with the timing gear sorted it out.

Peter gives Mike's Precision the heave-ho
We flew plenty of rounds and it may have been better to discard the first three. That would also have eliminated my zero score in round three when Martin’s massive launch of my Precision saw the tape holding the nose sheath on fail and said sheath headed off down the slope and I was left with no option but to land for nil point!

Ewan awaits his shottie

They are multiplying! 

Another great day in Yorkshire. 

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Scottish Slope Nationals 29-30 August

I had been looking forward the Scottish National Championships for months and the weekend didn’t disappoint despite the small turnout. Unfortunately the small turnout meant that foamie racing was never going to be a feasible option. 

My new McOdyssey did get an airing on Saturday when Peter called for some practice flying before we setup the F3F course for an impromptu race/practice session.  The McOdyssey went well in the 25mph+ winds. Ewan gave his refurbished Gulp an airing and John Treble also brought along a Gulp and some stick time with it both days. John was feeling a bit under the weather and decided to take a back seat for the weekend. Also not flying was Dave Watson who came along for some fresh air although unfortunately Dave wasn’t flying although his “chauffeur” Robert Carson was able give his Fosa some stick time until a technical issue put a stop to Robert flying for the rest of the day.

Ewan and his Gulp
Despite the forecast for a dry day we had to endure a heavy downpour (Sportsbrellas were left in cars or at home where they were of little use)

Enduring the downpour. Dave and Robert are under the plastic sheet in the foreground!
Rain over, lets get flying
The results of the practice F3F were
1 Peter Gunning
2 George Young
3 Mark Redsell
4 Mark Treble
5 Ewan Maxwell
Me runner up? Could I repeat that on Sunday to equal my Nats result last year? In a word. NO!

I did have a good day on Sunday but my flying in the early rounds was shocking. I flew my Precision to start with before switching to my Stinger and then back to my Precision. I got a little distracted when I saw how sloppy the right flap on my Precision has become but after a careful inspection on the hillside I decided it was sound but sloppy! The issue is wear with the RDS pocket in the flap. Ripping out the RDS might be the only option but this is a big job not helped by the servo being built-in under the wing-skin. What was Samba thinking?  Once I settled down back flying my Precision my times dropped but even with two discards my slow times kept me well down the field.

Mark lands his Jazz
Mark and his Toxic

Ewan's Jedi gets a proper launch
Mike's Precision gets away
Ian and his trusty warhorse Tragi.
A great but tiring day after 17 rounds. Trudging around on the long grass on the hillside meant walking with a “heather-lowp” which really made my thigh muscles ache by the end of the day. 

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

F3F Scottish "Summer" league round 5 (actually round 2)

After a three month break we finally managed to hold an F3F competition on Sunday. YIPPEE! It should have been round 5 but is round 2 having lost May, June and July due to weather/numbers.

To be honest the forecast wasn’t exactly encouraging but being a keen and enthusiastic bunch, five of us turned up at East Lomond car park ready to give it a go. In light of the weather forecast most had brought along a DLG just in case. The prediction was for ssw swinging quickly south and then east but we were lucky in that it held pretty much south and straight onto the slope just off the track to the left up to the main slope before the stile.

We set up the course with the right base next to the fence and the left base just shy of 90 metres away to the east which worked fine.
The course from base B taken with my phone

Ewan and his Jedi from Peter's phone (note the steel fence post as centre marker!)
I got some great air in the first two rounds, probably the best air of the day! Just to make things equal I got some dismal air in later rounds. The wind tended to drop very low at times and I completed one round (slowly) later in the day and struggled for a few minutes to get high enough to fly through. 720g of ballast was maybe a little too much. Peter accidentally landed in a similar situation and Ewan pulled off a dramatic (brave) two handed catch of his Jedi as he struggled to fly through with little height and airspeed. From time to time Mike flew some aerobatics on the course hoping for extra points. Some intentional moves and others not-so-much! (nil point). Reversals, bank-and-yank and EM are quite effective ways of turning but stall turns? 

We had a DLG fly at lunchtime which was fun before we got back to the real stuff about 2 o'clock. Not before one of our number lined up his DLG for a hand catch and flew straight into himself!
One from Sam

One more from Sam. Cyril maybe?
It was good to get some flying in despite the very variable and fickle conditions. Plenty of laughs and banter. 

I was quite happy with the way my Cyril performed but must press on with fixing my poor Precision.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Sunday morning on Pole Hill

Saturday looked like a great day but I couldn't escape (gardening :-( ) so first thing Sunday morning I was heading for Pole Hill. I considered going to East Lomond but it was really cloudy and overcast and EL is often clouded over in these conditions so I stayed north of the Tay. When I got to Pole Hill I could see that I had made the right decision :-) because there was a lot of low cloud over the Lomond Hills which stayed there all morning.

Cyril selfie showing East Lomond and Bishop. At that moment the cloud was just clear of the top of EL
I gave my Cyril an airing in the 20-25mph south westerly and had fun fiddling with aileron differential and snap-flap settings. The air was fairly consistent and I was able to get the roll more axial. I could see some small rain showers off to both sides but it never bothered me thank goodness. A few degrees warmer would have been good though.

Late morning the sun tried to put in an appearance and very soon some thermals blew through and my Cyril lifted up its skirts and was off. YIPPEE!!
Cyril at rest

780g of ballast seemed about right all morning. I flew a lot of F3F turns as well as "pumps" (not so good before the thermals appeared) and loops & rolls etc. The Cyril looked good diving along the compression on the edge before pulling up into a vertical roll followed by a stall turn to dive down and repeat it in the other direction. Yee ha!! 

Monday, 3 August 2015

Unofficial F3F Northern Summer League Brantside

15 Rounds in good conditions in a beautiful part of the world. God's own country. 

Landings were easy but daunting. Managed to send my Pike backwards into tussock of grass. Ouch! This forced me to fly my Stinger which was no bad thing. Better get repairing the Pike though.

Great day out and thanks to Peter for doing all the driving again:)

Monday, 15 June 2015

Magic on Dodd Hill?

A day off work and the forecast was for light and variable winds. Perfect for some F3F practice. NOT!

Time to try out the Magic electric launched thermal glider I have had since Christmas. Christmas 2014! 

A quick charge of the 1300 mAh LiPo and I headed up to Dodd Hill. Very little wind and what there was came from the south east. No real slope lift then. 

The first launch (unpowered) saw the Magic dive straight into the ground about 3 metres away! Impressive glide performance then! A second more spirited launch wasn’t much better. A lot of up trim dialed in helped a bit on the third go and I put on the motor once it was away. STEEP Climb!! Not underpowered then. Motor off the nose went down and I had to hold in back stick even with full up trim on. 

Back on the ground I checked the cg and it was still where recommended. The bolt on wing doesn’t easily allow packing the leading edge up so packing was added to the trailing edge of the top mounted tailplane to increase the incidence. Fourth flight much better but still a lot of up trim required. More packing and it was better again but it will need the incidence checking. I may have been so keen to ensure the nose pod and tailboom were straight when joining I neglected to pay enough attention to the wing incidence. 

The Kevlar closed loop elevator linkage I designed is rubbish too (very springy) and will need changing to something more rigid. I will go for the steel wire pushrod and plastic tube "snake" like the rudder linkage. The design uses sprung control surfaces which the servo fights against and I did not like that at all. (Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!! poor wee servos!!) I went for snake on rudder and closed loop on elevator.

Although I got the model flying quite well and I am sure a few wee modifications will sort it out I am not convinced by the electric motor up front. I got an hour or so of flying from the battery but I think I prefer my Longshot DLG.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Looking Sheepish in Glen Isla Saturday 30th May

Steady westerly wind forecast and only a few hours for me to get out to play saw me parked in the sunshine at Knock of Formel and heading up the hill with my Cyril just before 10. 

Initially the path goes through a field which was full of sheep and lambs. The wee lambs were bouncing around as they are inclined to do except for one which was was lying motionless on its side. I could see its eyes were open so it wasn’t dead and I debated whether to seek the farmer and alert him to his wee lamb in distress or not. A closer look was required. After all I had insulation tape in my rucksack (various colours including white) and some superglue. I can fix most things with that although livestock would be a first!

As I got nearer the poor wee critter its glazed eyes suddenly focused on me and it sprang to its feet and with a loud baaa for its mum headed away across the field. It stopped for a moment, farted, unloaded some ballast, and headed off once more. That was easy! I am considering a new career as an animal fixer!  Glad I didn’t drag the farmer away from his warm kitchen though!

Cyril having a rest. Looking north to Glen Isla. 
On top of the hill the wind wasn’t the forecast 15mph westerly, it was about 30mph and west-north-westerly so a bit crossed from the right. My Cyril liked it though despite it being very bumpy and a wee bit uncomfortable at times low down. Big thermals kept blowing through which were rough but Cyril bounced along really well with over a kilo of ballast onboard. 

I spent a bit of time tweaking the aileron differential but also spent a bit of time sitting drinking iffy tea from my flask and enjoying the summer weather. A few degrees warmer would be good!

Looking west over south end of Glen Isla.The long distance Cateran Trail follows the track right to left past that thin line of trees halfway up the slope opposite.
South towards Hill of Alyth and Strathmore beyond.
Loch of Lintrathen to the east
I headed home for a late lunch well happy. Turned out I could have stayed for another hour but I’m not one to moan!

Monday, 25 May 2015

F3F competition East Lomond

I was first to arrive at East Lomond car park and conditions looked decidedly iffy with the wind well round to the south with maybe even some east in it. However, once the rest of the chaps had arrived and we had had a bit of a blether, we optimistically headed up to try the south facing shoulder of the hill. Most of us had a sport fly and I chucked my Cyril off into some nice thermally air. Yippee! Having proved the hill was working we set-up the course.
After just two rounds the wind had swung sufficiently to convince us to head up to the “usual” slope and set-up the course there. By the time we relocated to the other slope poor Ewan, who is convalescing from the flu, was almost ready to have his late morning nap! Fortunately he soon rallied and went on to take runner up position at the end of the day. Some of us F3Fers are built of stern stuff!! Either that or we are just bonkers (or, more likely, a fine blend of both).
Dave's Cyril
Sam and his Needle
I stuck with flying my Cyril and interestingly Dave flew his and it also went really well. Peter was another who favoured his Baudis model and went on to win with it. Mike looked convincing all day with his FS4 and ended up a close third. It was good to see Sam managed to get along this time and soon had the measure of the course, steadily improving all day.

At the end of the competition Sam was able to maiden his new McOdyssey  and it flew really well from the get-go. Faaaast these Ronnie Lampe models and so easy to fly. Definitely a winner!

It was good to get another summer league competition result but next time I could stand it a few degrees warmer and it would also be good if I didn’t get all the rubbish air! The one round where I got some good air I managed to win the round so my Cyril is a keeper I just need better luck (and more practice, much more!).  

Monday, 27 April 2015

Gallow Hill fun

The poor forecast for Saturday was not exactly accurate and I missed some good flying weather. BBC Weather App? Huh!

Sunday morning and I headed up to Gallow Hill with my trusty and much abused Spark. This hill is not too far from home although it takes me about 40 minutes of walking to get to the slope from where I leave the car. An interesting walk with ex WW2 military buildings at the start, an ancient boundary marker stone to pass and the remains of the wreckage of an Avro Anson at the top. Great views to the south and north too.

When I got to the top there wasn’t too much wind and my Spark felt heavy as I heaved it out into the 7mph breeze which was crossed from the right. 

Not much lift and the model needed some hasty trimming but I managed to get it above the slope after blundering around looking for lift. Found lots of sink in the process! The breeze began to die so I pushed the model out from the slope to look for thermal activity. There was some activity but the Spark seemed to be drawn into that sink again. I should have landed when I still had height and the ensuing land-out and retrieval soon warmed me up! When I got back to the launch point the wind had straightened up to the promised north-west and the slope lift was suddenly working quite well and the Spark was looking much happier. Me too!
View looking north west
After about 20 minutes of goodish air the wind died completely. Did I land while I still had height? Another walk of shame only there was nobody to witness it! 

When I got back to the launch point I was really warm this time. The wind had swung off to the west and I was able to heave the model off into the air once more. A bit crossed but ok and quite thermally. Yippee! Then the wind swung round to the south-west and the lift died again. A hasty landing avoided another long walk! The windmills on the distant wind farm were at right angles now. At this point I could see some heavy showers heading my way and I high-tailed it back to the car. Just made it before the hail and sleet arrived and headed home for bacon and egg brunch. 

Monday, 20 April 2015

Light wind fun at Kilspindie Sat 18 April

Not enough wind for a competition but six of us turned out for some light wind fun. Lots of DLG/Alula/Miro fun and F3F sport flying when the wind picked up.

The wind was light most of the time and well crossed from the south east. Conditions did straighten up from time to time and later in the day the F3F models were looking good after a 5 minute climb out followed by about seven laps before the speed decayed!

Despite no competition we all had a great day.