Patch News – March 2020

This is going to be a really tough Patch News to write. I have, perhaps surprisingly, loads of information and photos but the terrible state of the world being ravaged by Covid-19 has now brought everything to a screeching halt and the next few months look like being very bleak indeed. Obviously all club meetings have been cancelled for the foreseeable future and no flying is allowed either. The PAM Flying Group on WhatsApp has seen quite a lot of use recently including the obligatory ‘jokes’. The group is a great way of keeping in touch while we are isolating and should help keep us sane. Doreen and I returned from Marrakech three weeks ago so have been self-isolating pretty much since then and I have to admit that I’m already finding it a bit of a struggle mentally, hopefully contact via WhatsApp will help us all through. If you aren’t a group member and would like to be added just let me know.

We are lucky that (as of 24th March when I started writing this) Captain Slow is willing and able to visit the field every couple of weeks and swap the battery as part of his allowed daily exercise. But things are changing very rapidly and even that may not be possible soon. Obviously we’ll be unable to mow the patch so some work will be required when this is all over. This was the last session before lockdown, Woody and Capt Slow social distancing.The bullocks returned to the field on 18th March having spent the winter in the lower field. Usually they are only in the field for about a month before they get moved on and don’t return for another couple of months. So if we are very lucky and are able to fly again in three months we’ll probably have their company again but right now that’s the least of our worries. The last day I personally flew it was ridiculously windy so just Dougal Entendre and I turned up.This edition will be published on 1st April and I would normally attempt to hide an April Fool piece somewhere within it but this year it just doesn’t feel right. So here’s the photo that I was planning to use along with a caption along the lines of ‘1066 got a bit too low on one of his many knife-edge passes right across the field’. Of course the truth is that he simply put the Edge down when he needed two hands to open the gate but that’s much more boring!

A couple of months ago I featured Dougal Entendre’s Snub Nose Skyfun, the snub nose being the result of bit of FPV trouble with a cloud. In January Dougal had added an HD camera to the flat front and was test flying it without the FPV gear but he’s now added an FPV camera alongside the HD one and has installed a new toy, a flight controller.The controller can relay lots of live information from the plane back to the pilot where it is displayed on the goggles. The information can be tailored to suit the pilot’s requirements but can display things such as artificial horizon, altitude, height, distance from pilot, current draw, battery voltage and a whole lot more besides.One of the most useful things for Dougal is the display of an arrow that always points back towards the pilot, so should he ever lose his way (and the spotter loses sight of the model) he will always know which way is home. Oddly at the moment he doesn’t seem to have got that part working, I know setting up the flight controller tested his wiring and computing skills to the limit and he’s almost, but not quite, got it sorted. Just as soon as he’s figured out how to get everything working correctly I shall steal the information and fit a flight controller to my own FPV model! In this months’ video I have included some of the FPV camera video interspersed with the HD camera video so you can see the quality difference between the cameras and also the OSD (On Screen Display).

During Dougal’s first flight he did a low pass in front of the pilot line (just showing off really) and it was perhaps a little lower and a little closer to the pilots than he intended. But what he had forgotten was that although we had taken the fence down we had left the post nearest to the pilots up, after all nobody would fly that close so it wouldn’t be a problem would it? Well it very nearly was a problem for Dougal as this video screenshot shows.Yes, that really is a genuine onboard shot, he couldn’t have got much closer without hitting it!

Dwayne Pipe has done some repair work to his Acro-Wot following a bit of a mishap. If I remember correctly he wasn’t certain if the crash was caused by pilot error or a problem with the radio, he’d had a few odd unexplained things happen during the previous weeks but it’s sometimes difficult to tell. He’s made a nice job of the repairs and being in need of a replacement canopy he recycled an old squash bottle which I think looks rather good.Acro-Wot aficionados will notice Dwayne has extended the nose a little in order to make achieving the correct centre of gravity easier, I think he did that before the latest repairs. So, how did the test flight go? Not well I’m afraid.At least Dwayne has now answered the radio problem or pilot error question, it was the radio! Fortunately Dwayne is a master of repairs and the damage doesn’t look too bad so I expect the Acro-Wot will re-emerge once we are able to start flying again. Meanwhile Dwayne is on the lookout for a new set of radio from a different manufacturer and I was surprised he didn’t snatch Niki’s hand off when he offered a Futaba set for sale. That one was grabbed by Iven I believe. Maybe Dwayne has already bought something, let me know Dwayne and I’ll keep everyone up to date.

Back to Dougal now as he’s splashed the cash on a Multiplex Blizzard electric mini hotliner. Not much cash though as it was a second hand one that he spotted being sold by a Portsmouth seller on eBay. He won the auction but when he popped down to collect it the model wasn’t up to the standard he’d expected from the advert. The fuselage had been broken in half just behind the wing and repaired fairly averagely. The seller said he’d forgotten about that!After some price renegotiation Dougal came away pleased with his purchase. Apparently the seller told Dougal that it had loads of power and was quite fast but when he flew it Dougal found it barely had enough power to fly and certainly wasn’t fast. But the Blizzard had been fitted with an eight inch prop which seemed rather small and the motor wasn’t pulling much current so Dougal swapped to a ten inch prop which transformed it.He could probably still go to a bigger diameter or higher pitch if he wants some more speed but it’s now a good performer anyway. You can see some of the flight with the larger prop fitted in this month’s video.

OK, it’s competition time now. Usually I would offer a humungous prize for a comp winner but as I don’t have anything to hand, can’t shop, and won’t see the winner for months anyway this one is just for a gold star! During our flight from Gatwick to Marrakech I took a photo of a part of England that I immediately recognised. The gold star goes to the first person that names the three S’s in the photo. No you idiots, not Sun, Sea, and Sky!Click on the photo to enlarge it, it’s much clearer then. Just put your guesses in the Comments section.

With no flying allowed for now we’re seeing an increase in the number of new models being built and that’s what I’ll have to concentrate on for the next few editions. Those of you in the WhatsApp group will have seen some of them already but I will give you more information about them. First up this month is Niki Weatherley’s lovely Extra 300.When I first saw the photos of it in the garden I didn’t realise how big it was, it has a wingspan of 85” (2160mm). It’s made by Extreme Flight and is designed specifically for either 50cc petrol engines or equivalent electric motors. This is from the Extreme Flight website: Precise, agile and aggressive yet super stable and light on the wing, the 85″ Extra excels in all modern aerobatic flight regimes. With reduced control surface throws the Extra is a big pussycat and makes a great sport flyer. Crank up the rates and prepare to be amazed by the truly unlimited potential of this airframe! The 85″ Extra 300 EXP is loaded with features including advanced use of composites for a super strong, rigid, yet light weight airframe, carbon fiber wing spars, main gear, tailwheel assembly, wing and stab tubes. It features a 2 piece removable stab with internally mounted elevator servos. The Extra is available in 2 high visibility Oracover color schemes with high contrast bottom colors and a pro quality hardware package including genuine Dubro ball links. Elevators and ailerons are pre-hinged and hinge lines are sealed with Oracover, facilitating a quick assembly. Experienced modelers should be able to finish assembly in a couple evenings of relaxed shop time.

Personally I’d be chicken and would be going for the reduced throw, big pussycat, sports flying but somehow I don’t think that’s what Niki will be doing! He has of course gone for the electric option and having initially ordered a 60cc (electric equivalent) set-up he’s now decided that was overkill and has settled on a 40cc 200Kv Xpwr motor, 120A HV Castle Creations speed controller and a 12 cell lipo. The lipo consists of two 6 cell packs of 4000 to 5000mAh with a 65C rating which are connected in series. That’s the same powertrain as Matt uses in his 81” Velox.Niki is using a Futaba 7008SB receiver and Savox HV-1270TG servos all round, just one of which costs more than some of my planes! Niki will be using telemetry to keep an eye on current draw, temperatures etc. which seems like a very wise move to those of us who witnessed the speed controller in Matt’s Velox catch fire mid-flight.The excellent graphics on the Extra that you can see in the first two photos came from B&E Graphix in the States. All in all that’s a very impressive plane Niki, I look forward to seeing it fly before too long.

Bob the Builder has been idling away his isolating time by pimping up his Sukhoi SU-27 with lots and lots of LEDs. Bob is intending to try night flying when he can find a suitable time and place. Woody will be so jealous!

Next is a Tony Nijhuis Sabre with a span and fuselage length of 25 ½” (650mm) that Norwegian Nick is building. Nick says the all up weight should be about 16 ounces (450gm) but his might be slightly over that because instead of the intended 3 cell set-up he’s fitted a 4Max 50mm fan which will use a 4 cell 1800mAh lipo and a 40A esc. The Sabre is of all balsa construction which Nick has covered with tissue and it will be airbrushed with acrylic paints. He’s run the motor and says it sounds superb, the fan has been aerodynamically balanced so there’s no vibration. I know Woody has a similarly sized Tony Nijhuis Hunter under construction and he is using the recommended 3 cell set-up so it will be interesting to compare the performance of the two. It would be nice to see them flying together.

Speaking of Woody, I took this shot of his Sukhoi SU-57 flying early this month. It’s nothing like the standard of Kryton’s photos of course but not too bad for a mobile phone and I like it. Click on the photo to enlarge it.As well as his Lysander Chas Butler is spending his isolation time working on a 104” (2640mm) span Jamara Discus CS that he’s had for several years. As a glider it weighs about 1.2kg but he’s now considering electrifying it.He’s planning to use a 1070Kv motor with a 12×6 folding prop, a 60A speed controller and a 3s 2200mAh lipo. Sounds good to me, should go well Chas. The problem that he has at the moment is that the damp has got under the gel coat on the fuselage and made it bubble so he’s got some rubbing down and spraying to do first.

STOP PRESS: He’s done it!Chas photographed the original decals on the fuselage before rubbing it down and then used Photoshop to reproduce them on waterslide paper. I assume he used Photoshop to make the rather nice photo collages he sent as well.Next he bit the bullet, sawed the nose off the fuselage and mounted the motor onto a plywood ring that he then epoxied into the nose. He’s now test run the motor and the power seems fine. That’s all very neat, good job Chas.

Video time now and of course this will be the last video for a while unless I am able to find some old footage to cobble together. This month some of the video and photos come from Captain Slow, Bob the Builder, and Dougal Entendre, thanks guys. Please watch the video full screen, it’s so much better with small models flying around.If the video won’t play for you please click HERE

What’s the difference between politicians and flying pigs?
The letter F…

Stay safe
Colin Cowplain

8 Responses to “Patch News – March 2020”

  • Graham Swan Says:
    April 1st, 2020 at 8:18 am

    Congratulations on patch news. Very good as usual, particularly given the present conditions. I think I have an answer to your photo question :- Swanage, Studland, Sandbanks!

  • Colin-Cowplain Says:
    April 1st, 2020 at 9:41 am

    Well that didn’t take long! Well done to Graham Swan (Kryton) for getting the correct three names so quickly, I thought there would be lots of incorrect ones. Here’s your gold star ⭐

  • Cgas Butler Says:
    April 1st, 2020 at 9:44 am

    Cheers for another informative Patch News. I may be way out here but my attempt at the 3 Ss is: Swanage, Studland and Sandbanks.

  • Colin-Cowplain Says:
    April 1st, 2020 at 10:56 am

    Correct Chas but you were beaten to it by Graham I’m afraid. Well done anyway, you get a smiley face but no gold star

  • Alan Wood Says:
    April 1st, 2020 at 11:19 am

    Nice one Colin considering the lack of flying. I see that your f16 has morphed into an F15.?
    See you soon.STAY SAFE

  • Colin-Cowplain Says:
    April 1st, 2020 at 12:35 pm

    Oops! Just seeing if you were paying attention…!

  • Matt Says:
    April 16th, 2020 at 3:51 pm

    Great update as always Andy.

    I even got a mention “Niki will be using telemetry to keep an eye on current draw, temperatures etc. which seems like a very wise move to those of us who witnessed the speed controller in Matt’s Velox catch fire mid-flight.”

    I think they fire may have been related to me decking the model a few months prior… who knows! 🙂

  • Colin-Cowplain Says:
    April 17th, 2020 at 10:25 am

    Haha, next time I’ll try to mention you in a happier way!