Patch News – January 2021

Sadly I must start this edition with the news that Don Eades our club President has passed away at the age of 84.Don was a founder member of Petersfield Aero Modellers in 1972 but he had been an aero-modeller for many years before that. When I first met Don in around 1963 he was flying control-line models, all built and finished to an extremely high standard, a standard he maintained throughout his modelling lifetime. In 1978 I returned to modelling after a break and found Don was club Chairman, a position he continued to hold for many years during which the club flourished under his leadership. In around 1979 Don became one of the first Area Chief Examiners in the country and, leading by example, he encouraged PAM members to take their A & B certificates, and conducted a large number of tests for many other clubs right across the BMFA Southern Area.When the Southern Area was close to collapse with the lack of a leader he stepped in and served as Area Chairman for many years. During that time he encouraged and participated in inter-club competitions, including the Southern Area Galas, two day events that were held at Beaulieu, and the Balsa Brain quiz that is still held annually to this day.At the BMFA Annual Dinner in 2003 Ron Moulton presented Don with a Certificate of Merit for his efforts. Don was a keen competitor in club competitions and was always at or close to the top of the scoreboard. The photo below was taken at the 1987 Nationals when Don competed in the Fun Fly event, winning the Touch’n’Go event in Class 2.In the latter years, with failing health, Don was unable to manage the flying sessions but attended the fortnightly club meetings for as long as he could. Eventually he had to move into a care home where he spent his remaining years, passing away on 26th January. Fortunately both of Don’s children, Sandra and David, were able to be with him at that time. The club has lost a founder, a leader, a superb modeller, and an inspiration to so many of us.

Now onto slightly happier things: Another year, another lockdown. As last year ended the situation was that just two people at a time were allowed to meet up and fly. The club booking system remained in place in order to control the numbers and keep a record of attendees. So on New Years’ Day 1066 and Mini-Mike (obviously neither of whom had overdone the revelling the previous evening) ventured out and discovered that it was very, very frosty at the field. Despite the extreme cold they both managed a few flights in the rather murky conditions, with 1066 flying his Edge 540T  and SU-27 and Mini-Mike his Durafly Tundra. It must have been cold, Mike is wearing more than a T-shirt! On Sunday 3rd January Dougal Entendre and I took our turns and flew in chilly and blustery conditions. It was warmer than on the 1st but we both needed our transmitter muffs and I found the heater in mine was a great boon. Both 1066 and Mini-Mike had booked the afternoon session that day so they were able to fly again. But later that day Lockdown 3 was announced, starting at midnight on the 4th. This time the rules meant that no flying at all was allowed and the BMFA said clubs must close their sites. So that was the end of January flying, just the four of us got some flying in, something for which we were very grateful. We have no idea when flying will be allowed again and the terrible situation of the NHS struggling with the new Covid variants doesn’t make the future look very promising.

When Dougal and I flew on January 3rd I took my foamboard SU-27 and MPX FunGlider and Dougal flew both his Skylark and Slick using his new Radiomaster TX16S for the first time. He had managed to sort the programming enough to be confident of flying the models without any disasters although there still seemed to be a few ‘oddities’ that he was working on, mostly to do with arming the speed controller and throttle locking. Both models needed trimming and some of the features in the set-up were a little different to previously, particularly with the Skylark.On the first flight the elevator was much too sensitive although that may have been caused by a rather rearward centre of gravity (put the battery in the right place Dougal!). In this month’s video you’ll see that the Skylark started off rather erratically but Dougal gradually sorted it out and by the second flight it was flying much better. The Slick was also over-sensitive on elevator at first but less so than with the Skylark and it was soon trimmed out and flying well. In the air the radio was faultless and Dougal was pleased to have voice announcements for the first time on any of his many many transmitters. I must say it was pleasant to hear a different voice speaking the flight time etc., So many of us now use Multiplex radio the most common sound is a pilot saying “Was that 2 minutes me or you?”

When 1066 arrived at the field on the afternoon of 3rd January he discovered he’d unknowingly previously damaged the fuselage side where the wing tube is mounted. Unusually he’d only taken one model with him so it was a case of fix it or give up and go home. With a bit of ingenuity and using available materials 1066 did a masterful repair. Well ok, he stole some club property (one of the electric fence warning signs) and with a bit of cyano he cobbled together a right old bodge job! But it worked perfectly and enabled him to have six flights with no problems.As it turned out to be the last flying session for at least two months I’d call that a very worthwhile job well done. 

Now for a bit of news about a PAM member rather than actual flying. As those of you in the PAM WhatsApp group may have seen Chas Butler had some hospital time in January. Back in September 2004 Chas had a hip replaced having worn it out with too much walking (that’s just my opinion not a medical fact!). I can remember him being in a lot of pain for ages but the doctors refused to operate because he was only in his early fifties and they thought a new hip wouldn’t last his lifetime. They were right! Here’s what happened this month, straight from Chas: The day after the storm on Boxing Day I was tidying up the garden. Having swept the deck I was using a dust pan and brush to pick up the leaves, twigs and other garden rubbish. On straightening up there was a strange noise coming from my waist area. Initially I thought it came from the phone in my pocket. After removing the phone the noise sounded again. I then thought it may have been my belt creaking. At this time I was starting to feel a bit of discomfort that rapidly became more painful. Initially I thought I might have pulled a muscle or trapped a nerve. I phoned my Surgery the next day. They advised me to go to A & E preferably at St Richards as levels of Covid were very high in Portsmouth hospitals at that time. Five hours and two x-rays later the problem was no clearer. They advised me to go home with a view to return for a CT scan. Eight days later I received a phone call asking me to go in the following afternoon for a scan. The scan was on the Friday followed by another call on the following Monday to go in for a pre-op in the afternoon and then to return at 7:30 the following morning to replace the prosthetic hip. Needless to say, in the end, things happened very quickly. I think I was fortunate that a consultant from the orthopaedic department who had nothing to do, apart from emergency procedures, was checking back through recently undiagnosed cases. He noticed something amiss on my x-rays hence the reason for me being called at short notice for a scan. Apparently the ceramic material was crazed with the possibility of shards coming off and ending up, who knows where? This may not have occurred under normal circumstances. Chas’s operation took 4 ½ hours and left him with a 20” scar but the outcome was good and he’s now hobbling around on crutches, doing his daily exercises, and working his way back to normal fitness. Looking on the bright side at least he’s not missing any flying and should be fit enough to return to the field when we are allowed. All the best Chas, we hope you’re back to 100% again soon.

Both 1066 and Dougal Entendre spotted a piece on one of the Facebook groups about Team Mirus flying at various model shows back in the 1980’s. There was a photo of the team that included our very own 1066!There was also some information about each team member and a video taken at one of the shows. This is what 1066 says about it: I am the young guy (now 61) top left of the group picture TEAM MIRUS, standing next to me is my great friend Dave Richardson, sadly now passed. It was Dave who introduced me to Ken via the youngest of the group, (bottom right) whose name escapes me. We spent a year traveling the country displaying the Mirus, often arriving expecting to get in as a trader but having to pay as no one knew we were attending, we even had to buy the plan pack, but it was worth every penny, nothing beats picking up the model at the end of a good flight and turning to face an appreciative crowd. Great Plane, Great Guy, Great Times.

The video appears to be taken by someone filming the original video on their laptop so it’s not the best quality. I’ve edited the video down to four minutes to include the parts with 1066. You’ll notice that at around the 45 seconds mark he appears to take a swig of methanol to calm his nerves! At 2 mins 20 secs he’s interviewed by the legendary Dave Bishop, and at the end he does what Dave describes at an ‘emergency landing’! I think the engine must have been stuck on full throttle, maybe it was a throttle servo failure, but whatever the cause he got away with it.

Three years ago, remembering the good times he had with the Mirus team, 1066 built another one. The kit is no longer available but he made an electric powered version using his own construction methods. He’s barely changed! After a few teething troubles the new one goes really well and is a great flier, especially suited to poor weather.

I spotted a couple of things on the internet that made me smile in January. The first was posted on Facebook:If only it were true! It’s not fake news, not trying to fool anyone, it’s just a joke and it cheered up my January a bit.

The other thing was a Banggood advert that keeps coming up. I was intrigued with what appears to be pair of electrically heated underpants! Eventually my curiosity got the better of me and I clicked on it for more info.I was almost disappointed to discover that it’s actually a heated pad that goes on your back and the picture is (to my mind at least) upside down. Scrolling through the info revealed another photo that made a lot more sense. I totally blame Dwayne Pipe. A couple of months ago I searched Banggood for details of the heater pad he is using in his transmitter muff and now they keep trying to flog me all sorts of heat pads!

Always one who’s on the lookout for a bargain 1066 spotted a Weston Models Mini-Capiche for sale on Facebook Marketplace. It seems to be an untouched ARTF and he secured it for just £100. 1066 says it’s not as flimsy as most of the later models of this type, some of them seem to take the ‘add lightness’ theory a bit too far these days.The Capiche is unusual in having push-pull cable linkages on the two elevator servos as well as the rudder. Personally I’m not a fan of push-pull linkages, they often seem to be a problem and I don’t see any advantage over having the servos mounted close to the tail and a direct short linkage, other than to help the CG maybe.  Anyway, 1066 has done them as designed and they appear to work perfectly. I don’t have any details of the powertrain other than that it’s all bits that 1066 had kicking around but I believe he’s fitted a 650Kv motor and will be using a 4 cell lipo. Presumably it will need at least a 50A speed controller. The Capiche is around 1200mm span. It’s all ready to go now and looks very smart indeed, well done 1066. We just need to be allowed to fly again now!

Matt Takhar emailed me, mostly to explain that he and Nick Weatherley are now Lee Bees members because the flying site at Daedalus is much more suitable to the large models that they both than ours. Can’t argue with that. But now, to go along with their large models, Matt is putting together a micro pylon racer for Nick!It’s called Eek and was designed by Andy Whitehead and IAD Model Designs produce a CNC cut kit. It has a wingspan of 575mm (just over 22 ½”) and uses three 6g servos on the ailerons and elevator. The motor is 2300Kv and is controlled by an 18A esc. It uses a 500mAH lipo of either 3 or 4 cells and either a 4.7 x 4.7 or 4.1 x 4.1 prop.Just one comment: Are you mad? That thing is really going to shift, especially on 4 cells, good eyesight and reactions required! But both Nick & Matt are rather younger than most PAM members so maybe they’re up to it.

Sadly Lockdown 3 meant Kryten couldn’t take any flying shots this month so here are some blasts from the past:

Video time now which this month is rather limited as the lockdown meant that Dougal and I were only able to film on one day. 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

Son “Mummy, when I grow up I want to be a pilot.”
Mum “Make your mind up son, you can’t do both.”

Colin Cowplain

10 Responses to “Patch News – January 2021”

  • Capt Slow Says:
    February 1st, 2021 at 8:34 am

    Colin, congratulations on an excellent blog that is a fitting tribute to the life and times of Don.

  • Capt Slow Says:
    February 1st, 2021 at 8:36 am

    Before we start flying again – whenever that may be – would 1066 please replace the fence sign he misappropriated.

  • dwayne pipe Says:
    February 1st, 2021 at 10:06 am

    Well done Colin.
    A good eulogy for Don, pity I never knew him in his earlier days. Amazing how much space you can fill with not much happening.

  • Charles Butler Says:
    February 1st, 2021 at 11:20 am

    Well done Andy. A great tribute to Don. He has been missed for a while now and will continue to be so. Thank you Don for the memories.

  • Alan Wood Says:
    February 1st, 2021 at 11:36 am

    Nice one Colin.fitting eulogy to the big fella
    may he rest in peace and fly with the angels.
    Interesting piece considering the lack of material.

  • Colin-Cowplain Says:
    February 1st, 2021 at 2:39 pm

    Thanks chaps, I’m pleased you liked the tribute and blog. Thought I’d better reply as Capt. Slow has just rebuked me on WhatsApp for not commenting!

  • 1066 Says:
    February 8th, 2021 at 10:50 pm

    Great blog Colin and a fitting tribute to Don,before he stopped flying I took him to a number of shows, you could not go far before stopping to talk to someone he knew. In reply to the materials used to repair my plane, it was a damaged sign I had taken from the patch months ago, with the intention of photo copying , and laminating !! I will waive the storage charge on this occasion.

  • Colin-Cowplain Says:
    February 9th, 2021 at 9:25 am

    1066: Haha, I prefer my version of your repair, never let the truth get in the way of a good story!

  • Capt Slow Says:
    February 9th, 2021 at 7:42 pm

    1066, I never doubted you for a moment. Did you photocopy it as I have a laminator but not a colour printer, although black and white would do or yellow paper.

  • Nick Squire Says:
    February 16th, 2021 at 2:35 pm

    Another brilliant patch news Colin, great tribute to Don too