Patch News – April 2021

Patch News – April 2021

After so many months of little or no flying due to various lockdowns we were able to fly for a full month in April. I think it’s fair to say that we made the most of the decent weather and lots of members flew, some for the first time in many months. Fortunately the bullocks were moved out of the field on 4th April which made things easier for us.Less fortunately they returned on 20th April while we were flying but took little notice of us as they know we won’t feed them! Thanks to the maintenance work that was continued by several members (when it was allowed) the patch is now in great condition and ready for what will hopefully be a long and busy summer with lots of flying.

In the February Patch News I featured the launch ramp and bungee system that Dwayne Pipe had constructed to provide a safe and reliable way of launching his edf models and this month he was finally able to test the system. Somewhat appropriately Dwayne Pipe has made the ramp from several pieces of small diameter drain pipe. There was much frivolity and mickey taking as he put all the pieces together and it seemed to take an age but eventually it was set up and ready to go. Dwayne’s TSR2 was chosen as the guinea pig and mounted on the ramp.A great cheer went up when it was safely launched on the first attempt. The tension was increased slightly for the second launch and that time it went away even better. You can see both launches in this months’ video.No doubt Dwayne will get quicker at setting the system up as he gets used to it and it was noticeable that the hilarity stopped and congratulations started when the system turned out to be such a resounding success.A few days later Dwayne launched his Vampire from the ramp, again with perfect results. Well done Dwayne.

While I’m on the subject of bungees, I’ve had an email from Catapult King. OK I know that was a terrible link but it’s the best I could do! Anyway Catapult wrote with a tale of woe regarding his F14 Tomcat, here’s what he said:  If I ever mention an F14 again shoot me. As you can see by the picture it’s in the bin. Knowing that almost everything was going to be fixed and unreachable when completed everything was tested before gluing the final pieces of Depron in place. Having eventually put it all together and covered it was time to finish the programming. Unfortunately more issues. One of the elevator carbon fibre tubes decided to split rendering it useless. I thought fixing this was major surgery but I did it anyway. Then the rudders went juddery as if glue had dried on the hinges or the links had got dirty. Having finally finished the build the wings failed to go all the way back as easily as they had when originally tested as the Depron had warped in addition the servo now struggled.OK a bit of sanding more or less sorted that out but a meatier servo would not have gone a miss. Then the moment that finally broke the proverbial camel’s back, time for another current check (as in amps). I throttled up gently to 50% and there was enough thrust from both motors it started to slide of the workbench not bad when you think it didn’t have wheels. Then one of the motors spluttered and failed. As this was one area I could get too, I noticed one of the connections had broken but even after soldering another connector on, this motor was not going to spin. After checking the wiring, trying the ESC on the other motor successfully and various other things there was no joy. Replacing this was going to require rebuilding the entire nacelle and half the plane as there was no way just to cut it out so I’m afraid I gave up and in the bin it went. An awful lot of effort and materials gone.That’s very sad Catapult, it was looking so promising, but don’t be disheartened, just move on to the next project.

Young Charlie has been very unlucky to have his flying training interrupted by the various lockdowns but hopefully the worst is over now and he’ll be able to fly more regularly. He started flying with an FMS Easy Trainer which served him well for his initial training before moving on to a wooden Wot-4 that he was given by John Warren. Charlie had his 12th birthday in April and the following day he celebrated with several excellent flights with both models.Charlie flew on several days in April and is now almost ready to take his BMFA ‘A’ test. He is competent with both models but will have to use the Wot-4 for his ‘A’ test flight as the Easy Trainer does not meet the regulations. It is too light and doesn’t have any wheels to perform the mandatory take-off but the Wot-4 is ideal.

Sadly Bob the Builder returned to his Basher Bob roots this month and managed to write off his electric twin.I wasn’t present at the time but Dougal Entendre tells me Basher suddenly shouted that he’d lost control but the model crashed before anyone could help. Basher had an on-board video camera running at the time and listening to the footage later Basher thinks one motor was playing up. That would obviously cause problems with asymmetric thrust and make control very difficult. I know that Basher had been trying to set up the asymmetric throttle control on his new RadioMaster transmitter so maybe that was a factor, he should have stuck with Multiplex!

During one midweek flying session Dougal and I had a little impromptu low inverted pass competition. We all know that low inverted passes are Dougal’s signature move but quite obviously I was the winner this time. Why obviously I hear you ask… because I write Patch News of course! Fortunately Kryten was on hand and has been able to provide photographic evidence so you can decide for yourselves who really won. Some of the more devious members said I would simply doctor the photos to make it look as if I’d won whatever the truth really was…Well really, it would never cross my mind, I’ve no idea how they could even think such a thing, I am truly shocked!

Last month I featured Norwegian Nick’s SIG Decathlon that he’d got finished but hadn’t yet flown. Well it still hasn’t!Nick brought the model to the field for it’s inaugural flight, got everything assembled, fitted the wing struts, and then test ran the motor prior to attempting the first flight. There was a sudden ‘pop’ and the motor stopped. Upon investigation Nick found that the safety isolation link plug he’d fitted had burnt out so a flight wasn’t possible.At least it’s a much easier fix than having to change the motor and or speed controller but that didn’t seem much of a consolation at the time. Everything else worked perfectly so no doubt it will fly successfully next time out.

A few of the older PAM members will remember Mike Upton who passed away fifteen years ago. Mike was a modeller who enjoyed building large models and could best be described as a bit of a character. One April morning Mike’s widow Sue came to the patch to say she’d found some plans that she wanted to pass on rather than simply throw away. Sue thought the plans were for a Lysander but they are actually for a large Fairey Swordfish and were drawn by another late PAM member Frank White. So does anyone want some free complete & detailed plans? They’re right up Norwegian Nick’s street I reckon. The day I collected the plans Sue also gave me a painting that had been used as the club glider competition trophy for a number of years. Mike was the last winner so he’d retained the trophy.It was painted by another ex-Petersfield member Jim De’ath who left the club several years ago because his failing health meant he couldn’t walk up to the patch. Coincidentally a few years later Jim became a member of Dwayne Pipe’s art class and on the same day that Sue gave me the painting Dwayne broke the sad news that Jim had passed away. The painting is actually better than I remembered, the committee will need to decide what to do with it.

One April Sunday afternoon Chas’s wife Dawn joined him at the field when he flew his venerable Wot4 Foam-E. Dawn thought the Wot4 was looking very tatty (that’s when they fly best Dawn!) and decided to buy him a new model as an early birthday present. In due course the new model arrived and it’s a…drum roll…Wot4 Foam-E! But it’s not just a smart new one, it’s a different colour, the old one was white with blue and black trim whilst the new one is white with yellow, orange, and red trim. Chas reports that the stated 30 minute assembly time turned out to be 3-1/2 hours but he must have got it right as the new model flew perfectly. Just like the old one in fact.

I’ve realised the best way to figure out how windy it will be at the patch is much simpler than poring over lots of different forecasts and calculating the average speed. Now I just look at the Patch Booking Sheet and see if Kryten is down to fly! I don’t know how he does it but he’s pretty much infallible, Kryten flying equals light winds. In April Kryten came out several times and I took this action shot of Chas launching Kryten’s Phoenix electric glider:Kryten also brought along his beautifully built and finished Swannee, an updated vintage single-channel model. He built a single-channel one back in the sixties but it never flew successfully. When he and I were at school together Kryten (AKA Graham Swan) was always known as Swannee so maybe he should have called it Graham? The 1966 design called for a 0.8cc diesel engine and had ‘rudder only’ control but Kryten has brought it bang up to date with four channel radio and electric power whilst still retaining the looks of the original design.

While he was at the patch in April Kryten was able to capture some more of his excellent action photos for us:

This month the video footage was captured by myself, Dougal Entendre, and Captain Slow. Dougal has just treated himself to a camcorder, a Sony HDR-CX240E. It’s early days but it looks to produce good results so far. If you’d like to follow suit it’s available at Argos, where you can get a 6.5% discount if you use the BMFA Vectis card.
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

In April one hundred and eighteen years ago two brothers insisted that it was possible to fly …
It turned out they were Wright.

Colin Cowplain

Patch News – March 2021

At last, we’re flying again! As of Monday 29th March we are allowed to fly but the booking system remains in place and there are still some restrictions on numbers. Chairman John Wheeley has completed a risk assessment and emailed all members explaining that up to six fliers are allowed along with four non-fliers. Social distancing remains important of course and mask wearing is certainly a good idea, especially when assisting others. The use of hand sanitiser is also recommended when handling other people’s models and transmitters. Anyone without a BMFA ‘A’ certificate must be supervised by an NFC. In practise the numbers are unlikely to be a problem but workers (do we still have any?!) will be given priority at weekends. Please email John to book a slot, preferably with plenty of notice.The patch is in excellent condition thanks to the efforts of several members who have changed the battery regularly and completed three mowing sessions. At the time of writing the bullocks are in the field but they are the same ones as last year so they are used to us and shouldn’t be a problem. They seemed to enjoy watching Chas mowing.Utilising his military background Captain Slow took command, assumed his rightful place, and supervised everybody.

When Dougal and I arrived to fly on 29th March we were surprised to see a deer in the field. It seemed happy to be with the bullocks but was rather wary of us. At first I thought it was trapped in the field but that wasn’t the case. After a few minutes it hopped into the lower track and then across into the bottom field and on into the woods.The next day it returned whilst flying was underway and came close to the patch. After watching the flying for a while it got bored and went off in the same direction as before. I hoped to see it on Wednesday but it didn’t show.

Many of you will have seen that the website has been offline at times recently and as webmaster I should explain what’s been happening. For many years the site has been hosted at zero cost by Steve (Cyano Steve) Montague’s company and although Steve retired a few years ago the company very kindly continued to host the site for free and Steve has always been on hand to help if there have been any problems. But recently the company requested we find another host so there were some decisions to be made. I am reasonably proficient at doing the day to day site updates, adding new stuff, Patch News and so on but anything major is beyond me. Knowing that Dougal Entendre is an expert in such things and had recently retired so had nothing to do (if only!) I passed the project over to him.

The initial idea was to simply switch the hosting to BMFA who offer free hosting to member clubs but following the initial approach nothing happened for a couple of months. To be fair this was largely because BMFA have been extremely busy with all the CAA Article 16 regulations and the Covid-19 restrictions but the delay meant we were in danger of being left without a host and hence no website. So the committee authorised Dougal to look for a commercial host which would cost around £60 per annum and following consultation with Steve a company was chosen and the switch was started. Then BMFA came back with the information required to switch to them!

As is so often the case with these things nothing went smoothly and at the moment the site is being hosted by a commercial company but the switch to BMFA will be made gradually over several months, ironing out problems and giving the site a fresh new look before going live. The last few weeks have seen literally hundreds of emails between Steve and Dougal trying to get everything sorted and I am extremely grateful to them both. Passing the buck was certainly the best decision I’ve made!

Back to actual modelling now and news that Percy Vears has kept himself busy during lockdown. The first of his models that I’ll feature is his new Mig 15. This is what Percy says about it: This is one of the Tony Nijhuis series of mini jets which first appeared in the RCM&E 2018 special issue. I’d discussed these models with an aero modelling friend, and shortly afterwards he turned up and presented me with an FMS 50mm EDF assembly. I had little option then but to agree to construct one of these models – I chose the Mig 15 and he opted for the F86 Sabre. The kit was purchased late 2018, but I was unable to contemplate building it at that time. The present lockdown gave me ample time to start construction and this has now been completed, so ready for test flights.Construction largely followed the build photos supplied by Tony Nijhuis but I did change the thrust tube. This was supposed to be constructed from acetate sheet – a method I used when building the Avro Vulcan, but then I had turned up a wood mandrel on the lathe which helped form the acetate into the conical shape required. I decided a better approach might be to 3D print the thrust tube, so it was designed with 0.5mm wall thickness using FreeCAD.Having printed the thrust tube, the next problem was fitting it, since lack of flexibility prevented the larger end being folded and squeezed through the smaller holes in the rear formers. The only solution was to slice the formers and open up the fuselage to install the thrust tube (building a Folland Gnat now, I slid on the formers before gluing to the fuselage sides). The resulting tube weighed in at 28g –  slightly heavier than one formed from acetate sheet.A couple of further items were 3D printed. The ‘cheat’ air scoops and the pilot. Pilots for the mini jet series are available for purchase from Tony Nijhuis at £10 each. Research showed me that .STL files for these pilots are available (free) on https://www.thingiverse.com (these may be scaled to required size in the Cura slicer). So I printed my own! Note from editor: Cura is an open source slicing application for 3D printers.The model was finished with lightweight iron-on film in the Soviet Red Falcon display team colours. The weight of the airframe with servos esc and receiver (but without battery) is 436g.  Tony specifies an AUW (All Up Weight) of 450g (16oz). Technically I believe that AUW includes the fuel source, but since a 3s 2200mAh battery weighs typically 150g – 180g, this would imply that the airframe should be  270g – 300g (unlikely to reduce the weight by this much without sanding away much of the wood, so perhaps the term AUW is being misused). The AUW of my model (with 3s 2200mAh battery) is 616g – the thrust from the EDF fan is 620g, so hopefully that will be enough.
Thanks for that very comprehensive write-up Percy, the Mig looks great and I’m sure it will fly well.

Having now retired Dougal used some of his spare time and money to buy some bling for his RadioMaster TX16s in the form of some leather side grips. Dougal purchased brown ones but they are also available in light tan or black.I reckon he’s made the right choice, the brown ones won’t show the cow poo nearly as much as light tan would…  The transmitter doesn’t come with a battery so he’s also bought a 5Ah 2s lipo for it. I would imagine a 5Ah battery will last for several flying sessions before needing a charge. Both items came from https://www.hobbyrc.co.uk/

Meanwhile Bob the Builder has set-up and flown some of his many models using the RadioMaster transmitter he purchased during lockdown. He says OpenTx was quite a steep learning curve but lots of YouTube videos helped.

Kryten has also bought a new transmitter which he tested out on 31st March. Unlike the Radiomaster it’s a very up market transmitter, a Spektrum ix12, and it has an excellent screen with very clear graphics and controls.

The next new build from Percy Vears is a lovely Keil Kraft Pixie: As a 10 year old boy, walking home from school, I would gaze longingly in the window of the local model shop where a built-up Keil Kraft Pixie was suspended. This was a 23” wingspan, rubber powered semi-scale plane based upon the Auster light aircraft. Of course, the rather high price of 4/11d (or about 25p) was out of reach for a schoolboy with his rather meagre pocket money.However, one day (I don’t remember how) my dream came true and I found myself in possession of this KK kit.  Whether it was successfully built, or whether it flew is beyond my power of recall. However in more recent times, and with better skills at my fingertips, I had a hankering to relive those days and build another Pixie.

However a scaled up version of the Pixie by Tim Hooper featured in the December 2010 edition of RCM&E.This was a 43in wingspan version featuring an electric motor and I decided that perhaps this was a better option than the original, but at the time never got around to thinking about building it. However, two or three years ago I went to the LMA show at RAF Cosford, and whilst rummaging through the SLEC stand I happened to see a set of CNC cut parts for the Pix-E Major. I purchased these parts which then languished in my garage until seizing the opportunity to use time during the present lockdown to do a bit of modelling.This is a very lightweight model, weighing in at about 320g (excluding the 2s battery), and the fuselage is mainly constructed with 1/8in square balsa (which frequently broke during construction). The most difficult part lay in all the cabin glazing needed! Needless to say, this plane will not provide an adrenaline rush – so forget aerobatics.It is for leisurely flying on those very calm summer evenings, when it will probably fly for ages on its 2s battery.

Norwegian Nick has always been a prolific builder and he has sent me some information and photos of three models he’s been working on recently. First up is his Fantrainer which now just needs the colour scheme applying. Nick has fitted an Overlander 2845 2100kv motor running on 4S lipo using 35amp speed controller.I’m not sure if it’s classed as an edf or a shrouded prop model but whichever it is I’m looking forward to seeing it fly.

Next is Nick’s SIG Decathlon that he started building in the late 80s and he’s recently dug out to finish.It’s powered by an Overlander Thumper 3548/05 900kv which is good for 710watts and is controlled by 60amp esc. Nick will be using a 4s lipo. Do you think the pilot is a model of Norwegian Nick in the eighties? Many years ago the club had an evening of full-size gliding with the Royal Naval Gliding Club down at Daedalus (Lee-on-Solent). For a small fee members were able to have flights either being winch launched to around 1000’ or aero towed to a greater height. I had one of each and the tug plane was a Decathlon, I wonder if it’s the one that Nick has modelled.

Back to Percy now and the latest news on his lovely Lancaster that many of us have seen at club meetings at various stages of the build: This project was started about two years ago, and was a major undertaking, having many breaks in progress.  It has reached the stage of being 99.5% finished, requiring battery connectors to be soldered and a few minor things before ground testing.The balsa and ply construction was fairly straightforward except for the engine nacelles where a change in type of retracts over the years made some of the balsa shaping difficult (and different to the plan).  It was intended to have servo operated bomb doors, but due to the length of the doors, two servos would be required (one at each end of the doors).  Whilst some success was achieved, the problem arose with two servos operating in tandem at opposite ends of the door. This led to the servos fighting each other so there was always one or other of the servos “buzzing” and drawing excess current.  This was holding up the project so it was eventually decided to use thumbscrews to hold the bomb bay doors closed, access being required to connect the removable wings and to install the battery.  I may revisit this problem at a later date.The complete airframe was covered with 18g glass cloth and resin before being finished for painting (quite a mammoth undertaking!).  High build primer was applied and thoroughly rubbed down, followed by grey primer. The underside of the aircraft was spray painted with black satin finish. The upper surfaces were painted with acrylic matt brown and dark green using a standard camouflage pattern (wartime Lancasters were hand painted using rubber mats as stencils – this meant that all planes were identical, preventing the enemy from determining the total number of planes available to the RAF).
I decided to give the plane markings of 619 Squadron – PG-S (serial No LM742) which was lost on the night of 6-7 November 1944 at Gravenhorst – chosen because I had spent time with the individual who was the pilot of the plane on that fateful night.  Unfortunately, I have no idea if the plane carried any nose artwork (still researching but a difficult task).  Unfortunately the pilot is no longer with us and I had yet to take up aero modelling on the occasion I met him.
Finishing touches involved a lot of 3D printing (plus hand painting of the aircrew). This included:
Propeller spinners and Engine exhaust stacksBrowning guns Aircrew (6 in total – wireless operator is hidden from view)Another great project almost completed Percy, one that is going to look superb doing low passes over the patch.

The last new model is a little unusual for an aeromodelling club and it shouldn’t really feature as it’s a tug boat!It’s another model from Norwegian Nick and I’ve included it just because it looks simply superb bobbing on the water on a sunny day. Nick took the photos of the 36lbs and 3’ 6” long model on Canoe Lake in Southsea.

Sadly there are no flying photos this month but Dougal and I did manage to take some video of the first post lockdown flights. Then the following day Dwayne Pipe shot the deer…  No, he shot some video not the deer!
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

You do not need a parachute to skydive.
You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

Colin Cowplain

Patch News – February 2021

Here we are at the start of March having had zero flying in February. Fortunately things seem to be improving now with the vaccine rollout going well and Covid-19 cases dropping steadily so let’s hope flying is allowed soon. At the time of writing it looks as if from 8th March two members will be allowed to fly and then from 29th March it will be up to six members, but that’s not definite. Members must email Captain Slow to book a slot before flying. Captain Slow, assisted by Woody, has changed the fence battery regularly and reports that the patch will need cutting when we start flying again. Just as they finished the battery swap on 26th Feb the bullocks were moved into the field.

Some of you may have seen the feature on Don Eades, our late President, on BBC South Today on 17th February. There was no mention of his love of aeromodelling, it was about his life working as a photographer in the Petersfield area and him leaving a legacy of 120,000 photos to the Petersfield Museum. Don’s daughter Sandra was interviewed and spoke of some of his exploits while trying to get the best photographs. A good and fitting feature I thought. On Thursday 25th February at 2.30pm some club members attended Don’s funeral at Buriton church. Through his work Don met a great many people and in normal circumstances I’m sure his funeral would have been packed but due to the limit of thirty attendees the funeral had to be by invitation only. Funerals can never be happy occasions but I felt Don’s was about as good as it could be. The club was mentioned several times in the various tributes and its importance in Don’s life was stressed. During the Time for Reflection a slideshow of Don’s life was shown which included many photos of club activities, models, and club members. The final photo of the slideshow was Don waving goodbye. A very touching and poignant moment for everyone present.

At least this latest lockdown has been over the winter period when the weather is frequently unsuitable for flying but Sunday 21st February was a perfect flying day with light winds and even a little sunshine. Catapult King wrote to say it would have been the ideal day for test flying his little P51 Mustang but of course that couldn’t happen.He also reports that his F-14 Tomcat ‘keeps dishing out problems’ as he’s trying to get it ready for it first flight.The latest problem is that his radio has all but died and will need repairing. (I can recommend Mike Ridley of Model Radio Workshop in Southampton, he’s very good). Apparently Catapult has been spaced out during lockdown! No he’s not got a drug habit, he had received and model of the International Space Station for his birthday.He’s now got it finished and I must say it looks good Catapult but I’m not sure it will fly.

I was rather surprised when Jeremy Stuttard (Jezza? No I bet he’d hate that!) emailed on 3rd February saying that he’d been flying that day. Does he live on a farm or have a large enough back garden to fly in, or was he blatantly breaking the rules? None of those actually, it turned out he meant he’d been ‘flying’ on Google and discovered that the aerial mapping of the patch has been updated. Jeremy said that not only were several fliers clearly visible but also it was possible to see a model in the air and the shadow it was casting. So I opened up Google to check it out and when I first looked at the field in 2D I wasn’t convinced he was correct about the dot being a model at all, let along actually in the air, but then I went to 3D mode, zoomed right in, and rotated the view. He’s correct, it’s definitely a model and the shadow shows the shape more clearly than the model itself. I don’t know when the photos were taken, I thought Google used to give a time and date but I can’t see it now. I think it must have been pre-Covid as there doesn’t seem to be any social distancing in the pits. Click on the pics to enlarge them.Further over most of the cars are hidden by the trees but three are visible next to the barn which I belong to me, Captain Slow, and Dougal Entendre. Good spot Jeremy, if we can’t fly we can at least look longingly at the field!

Last month I showed you some photos of an Eek mini pylon racer that Matt Takhar has been building for Nick Weatherley. Matt has now finished and covered the Eek and it’s looking extremely smart. Matt’s been experimenting with vinyl cutting recently but I don’t think he did the ones for the Eek, I assume they were bought online. It seems likely that Nick will ask Matt to do the test flight, I hope his eyesight and reactions are up to it, at just 575mm span it’s going to be a hairy little thing but should be great fun if it survives.

Matt has also been refurbishing a Madness 3D machine. He owned one around 10 years ago and had a hankering for another (nostalgia becomes more common as you get older Matt!). He bought a slightly tatty I/C one on the BMFA sale site and has converted it to electric power and done some general tidying up especially of the covering. He used his vinyl cutter to produce some of the graphics which look to have turned out well. I’m sure Matt needs more practice at cutting vinyl so if you need any graphics for your latest pride and joy you know who to go to! The power is now supplied by a Turnigy 670Kv motor, much nicer than the previous dirty smelly noisy I/C engine!

Shock news, Bob the Builder has sold his Multiplex radio gear, the traitor! He’s got a Radio Master Tx16s on order which should arrive sometime in March. It’s the same transmitter as Dougal’s latest that I featured in December.Bob explains that the reason for the change was that he wanted to experiment with flight controllers, specifically a ZOHD one, and for that he needs a multi-protocol radio that can handle PWM and SBus. It means he’ll be able to use the Hitec receivers that he was using before buying the Multiplex gear. Bob has spent this lockdown learning as much as he can about Open Tx programming, mostly by watching the many YouTube videos that are available online. It will be interesting to see how Bob gets on with it. He should be alright for loads of help and advice from Dougal as Dougal has just retired after a lifetime of work developing software. Incidentally Bob still has two of the little Multiplex 5 channel Light receivers that several of us use, contact him directly if you could use a couple more receivers. Bob has also done a bit of building and says: In a particularly bored moment looking at my Lockdown2 model I wondered if I could use the wing in a DLG glider so I have built a prototype fuselage, see attached. Had to learn how to spring load the rudder and elevator to save weight, which will be about 350grms, nowhere near an Alula at 200grms though. Hmm, interesting, I hope the wing is strong enough for discus launching.

I heard from Gorgeous Gary the other day saying he has now got his Multiplex Funjet Ultra finished and ready for the test flight, he reckons it could be his fastest ever crash! Multiplex say it will do 125mph so it might be the fastest crash any of us! Gary has fitted a Himax c3514-2900 motor, a 60A esc, and will be using a 3 cell 2200mAh lipo. A couple of months ago I showed you a photo of Gary’s wrist that had been operated on, putting him out of action for a while. With the various restrictions and lockdowns he really hasn’t missed much flying but he says it’s on the mend now so he should be alright to fly once we are allowed. So what did the surgeons do to him? This:Ouch! That just had to be very painful, still it could have been worse, it could have been one of us instead of Gary!

John Warren has now finished his Albatross No.2 and has sent through some photos of some of the finer details. He says that on the old model the bottom wing was held in place by a ball and socket on the bottom of the strut. It was the failure of this joint that caused the wing to come off. He has changed the ball and socket to a hook and eye, and added a link joining both bottom wings. Let’s hope that does the job, I was unimpressed when the last one failed while I was flying it! The elevator and rudder controls are both closed loop using Gold-N-Rod snakes. The undercarriage is bungee sprung in guides, and the wheels are toed in about 5mm to hopefully improve the ground handling. John has made a dummy inline 6 cylinder Mercedes engine from balsa wood, and also a pair of twin 7.9mm Spandau machine guns. John reckons the AUW is around 6lbs which he says rather worries him. I don’t know what John’s first Albatross weighed but 6lbs doesn’t sound too bad to me for a model of that size.

Dwayne Pipe has kept busy during lockdown by building a bungee launch system for a couple of his EDF models. He says: EDF jets, either bought or made, usually have no undercarriage for the reason that their scale wheels are too small and almost useless for grass runways. This means that they have to be hand launched, which depending on who is doing the launching is a hit and miss affair. I have a pair of home built EDFs, the TSR2 and the Folland Gnat, where only one person in the club consistently launches them successfully. When Colin isn’t there I am stuck. As a result the TSR2 hasn’t been flown for a long time. My lockdown 3 project was not to build a new plane, but to build a bungee based launch system designed around these two planes, so that Colin could have a rest once in a while. (Quite right too Dwayne!) There are loads of videos on YouTube on building a bungee launcher, but almost all of these are for flying wings. It’s a lot easier to launch a plane if you don’t have a separate tail to get in the way!The best article I found was by Dave Royds from RCME and I used a lot of his ideas when planning my design. The launcher is constructed from 32mm PVC overflow pipe with push fit T’s and elbows to connect them together. The 1.5 metre ramp is inclined at 12 degrees with 20 feet of 6mm bungee and 10 feet of 3mm nylon cord providing the power. The foot trigger mechanism is a wooden seesaw which releases a split ring from a coach bolt. The bungee should be tensioned between three to five times the mass of the aircraft, so in my case 4.5 to 7kg pull. The whole system comes apart and is designed to be fitted into a sports bag.When the powers to be let us out to play again, I can test it out, and fine tune the system. The photos give a better idea of the arrangement. Thanks Keith, that looks excellent, I look forward to seeing it in action. Norwegian Nick made a similar looking one some time ago to launch some of his smaller EDFs. I don’t have any details of Nick’s but I remember that it was made from PVC pipe and it launched his little Sea Vixen with no problems.

Woody has added a Chance Vought Corsair and Hawker Hurricane to his collection that he calls Woody’s Warbirds! The Corsair is the HobbyKing PNF 30″ span one that comes fitted with 6 Axis ORX Flight Stabiliser. Woody has got it all set up with the stabiliser linked to his Multiplex radio gear and just needs the restrictions on flying lifted so he can test it. His Hurricane is the Dynam one and he’s added a sound system which is being demonstrated here:

Kryten snapped a couple of photos this month but not his usual flying shots, these are very firmly on the ground. I bet Dougal is dribbling into his breakfast now at the sight of a vintage Acoms 27MHz transmitter! However, all is not as it first seems as the transmitter and tools are scaled up to fit on a plinth that usually displays a real car. The second photo includes the Lanzante Tamiya Sand Scorcher, a real car that was scaled up from the Tamiya RC model.It’s very unusual to see something full-size that’s been modelled on an RC model, especially when it includes the transmitter. Here it is at Goodwood where, driven by a full-size driver, it took part in the hill-climb event. Amazing!

With no flying this month there is no video from the patch but John Warren sent me a link to one on YouTube that I think is worth sharing. It was filmed seven years ago and things have moved on a bit since then but it shows just the sort of flying skills that we all regularly demonstrate at the field…

 

Do you ever wake up, kiss the person sleeping next to you, and feel glad to be alive?
I just did.
Apparently I’ll never be allowed to fly with this airline again…

Colin Cowplain

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

Patch News – December 2020

Happy New Year everybody! I hope you all had a good Christmas and made the best of it despite the restrictions. We’ve finally reached the end of an awful 2020, surely 2021 can only be better can’t it? It will obviously be several months yet before the vaccine roll-out has much effect on the virus and I suspect we won’t be flying normally again for quite a while. December was a strange month, when Lockdown 2 ended on 3rd December the whole of the local area was placed in Tier 2 and flying was allowed, albeit with social distancing and the rule of six. Some of us flew on the 3rd and several times after that whenever the weather was reasonable.  On the 4th we saw a lovely sunset.But on the 19th Portsmouth, Gosport and the Havant Council areas were switched into Tier 3 and just 24 hours later into Tier 4. This meant that members in those areas were not allowed to fly but members in Tier 2 could carry on as before, effectively cutting the club in half. Then on Boxing Day the whole of Hampshire was moved into Tier 4 so none of us could fly except with just one other. Those in the WhatsApp group will have seen that Iven booked a slot and went flying after lunch on Christmas Day! He reported back that it well and despite not having flown for six months he didn’t break anything. He also said the patch seemed to have shrunk somewhat…yes Iven that’s what happens after a six month break! Captain Slow has continued to regularly change the fence battery throughout the various restrictions and some of us were able to mow the patch at the start of December so it shouldn’t need much attention for a while now. I was especially upset by the new restrictions as I’d been looking forward to impressing you all at the field with my classy new Christmas jumper. Never mind. You’ll just have to make do with a photo:

During the lockdown Bob the Builder spent some time knocking up a new model that he’s named Lockdown Two.Bob says it draws inspiration from the new Eachine Razor and the Dream-Flight Alula from about 10 years ago.I can see where he’s going with that. The wing is made from two layers of 5mm Depron with a flat bottomed aerofoil and an Alula style plan shape. An 8mm square section carbon tube is combined with a fuselage front section built from balsa. All the materials were bits Bob already had kicking around. The motor from Banggood is an 1800kv 2 or 3 cell one, the same as Bob uses in his small yellow basher. He has fitted aileron and elevator control only, no rudder and has managed to keep the flying weight to 520 grams using either a 1300mAh 3s battery or an 850mAh 2s with 50 grams nose weight. Bob said he built it to be a slow flier that he can fly in a small area. I did the test flight and I’m pleased to report that apart from being too twitchy on elevator it flew brilliantly. You can see it in this month’s video. The first flight was using a 2 cell battery a later Bob flew it on a 3 cell one which proved to also be good. Bob added a bit of colour after the first outing to aid visibility. I’m not sure quite why but on the second outing Bob had a bit of trouble with it and did a little damage but once 1066 had trimmed it out again all seemed well.

During December Chas flew his ex-Gentleman Jim Wildcat a couple of times and seemed to be enjoying it a lot.But back in the workshop Chas has been busy working on his Lysander which is coming along well now. With the aid of his lathe he’s sorted out the motor mount and spinner and has managed to mount a Top Flite Pratt & Witney engine moulding in the cowl. It’s an interesting choice of engine as Lysanders were all powered by Bristol engines but needs must! The engine will be fitted with a home-made aluminium exhaust system in due course. Chas has also been working on the woodwork and the tail feathers look to be pretty much complete now. The fin is laminated from two pieces of 6mm sheet balsa whilst the rudder has a core of sheet balsa with riblets on either side. The elevators are built in the same method as the rudder whilst the tail plane is all built up with obechi spars, ribs, leading and trailing edges and then sheeted with 1.5mm balsa and laminated tips added to both the tail plane and elevators. It is built upside down so that when turned over it has a flat top surface and dihedral on the underside. The wing struts are made from two laminations of lite ply and one of balsa with a stud at the lower end and two aluminium plates at the upper ends. The struts are there just to hold the wings against the fuselage. As Chas has now fully retired I expect work on the Lysander will move on swiftly although there is still an awful lot to do.  There’s no hurry anyway as it’s unsure when he’ll be able to test fly it with the Covid restrictions.

We haven’t seen Gorgeous Gary for a while and he emailed to explain it’s because he’s had an operation on his wrist. That sounds like a pathetic excuse to me, just fly full throttle out and ignore the rudder, same as always! Gary’s been having trouble with his wrist for some time and he’s hoping that the operation will have resolved the problem. He says he has very little movement in his thumb but that’s it’s a lot better than it was a few weeks ago. He’s still managing to work though and hopes to be back flying with us quite soon. All the best from PAM Gary.

You’ll no doubt be amused to hear that I managed to knock the tail off the Max Thrust Riot that I purchased in the sale of Gentleman Jim’s goods. Yes I know it’s just a reasonably aerobatic trainer but it was a windy and very turbulent morning and I was practising touch & go’s, doing very tight turns at low level when I got caught out.That’s my excuse anyway. Captain Slow was kind enough to snap a photo of the damage and insisted that I include it for your viewing pleasure (swine!). Gluing the tail back on was barely a few minutes work but both the rudder and elevator control horns had snapped and it took me much longer to find some suitable replacements from my stocks and get them fitted. Never mind, it was ready for the next flying session when it performed perfectly once again.Young Charlie was flying his Wot-4 in exactly the same conditions that morning and managed four flights, including all the take-offs and landings, with no problem at all. He’s continuing to progress well and once the restrictions are over and the weather improves it won’t be long before he’s ready for his ‘A’ test. On a different December morning Charlie’s mum Nadine filmed him taking-off and landing which I’ll include in this month’s video. The landing was the worst one he did that particular morning but it was just on the patch and in one piece so all was well.

New member Ben (well he will be in January) brought along an FW190 one morning but was unable to fly it as he discovered there was a problem with some of the controls interacting. Ben uses a Taranis transmitter and the problem might have been down to something in the very capable but also very complicated open source software.I expect he’s got it sorted now and we’ll see the FW in action soon. But he was able to fly his Gee Bee R3 which he’s fitted with FPV gear. Ben uses a very neat looking FrSky gamer style transmitter for the Gee Bee, I bet Dougal wants one of those! Ben flew normal LOS (line of sight) first and trimmed it out before trying the FPV on the next flight.All seemed ok at first but then the model started drifting away downwind and Ben was struggling to bring it back so he removed his goggles to fly LOS again. Both Bob and Dougal were helping with the spotting and giving directions (no further explanation required then!) but Ben was obviously in trouble as the Gee Bee was getting further and further away. Eventually the Gee Bee came down a long way off over the bottom fields. I was busy in the pits at the time and couldn’t figure out why Ben was struggling but Dougal told me later that the lipo had coming out and was swinging around beneath the model. A constantly varying centre of gravity would explain a lot!After a bit of searching the model was found to have landed safely almost 900 metres away. Fortunately it had cleared a small wooded area and was just sitting completely undamaged in an open field waiting to be retrieved. 

Back to Chas’s workshop now and some information he sent me about his battery driven power tools: Something a little different. What can be done to your old power tools when the NiCads no longer function?The mini drill, scissors and screwdriver are all now fitted with a 1s 1000mAh lipo. The Skil drill has a 2s 2000 mAh lipo and the vacuum cleaner has a 4s 1350mAh lipo. I’m sure the vacuum works better now than it ever did.The screwdriver’s epicyclic gearbox and locks fell apart when the unit was stripped down. Very fiddly to reassemble!! When not in use the lipos are put into storage mode and then charged when a building session is anticipated. Thanks for that Chas.

The saga of Dougal’s Jumper T16 transmitter continues, or rather it ends with his latest news: My Jumper T16 had one final insult for me – even having changed all the ribbon cables for the gold-plated ones, the USB charging didn’t work. I may sell it, or I might keep it for doing my own software experiments without buggering up the transmitter which (I hope) I’ll be using for regular flying sessions. What transmitter is that I hear you ask? I’ve lost count of the number in his collection now but it is somewhere in the mid-thirties I believe. Well now it’s plus one as he’s bought a shiny new RadioMaster TX16S. I’m very confused about the links between Jumper, RadioMaster, and RadioKing transmitters, Jumper appeared first and the others seem to be further developed copies of the Jumper transmitter. Dougal’s initial reaction on opening the box was that the transmitter was a little smaller than he’d expected.But delving deeper he found the real thing, so how’s he getting along with his new one:  I’ve only played with the hardware so far – I intend to get the software updated over Xmas & get some planes configured. I changed it from Mode 1 to Mode 2 by swapping the stick units over, which was quite a straightforward operation.The connectors seem a lot better than the flimsy ribbon cables in the Jumper T16, so I hope the reliability will be a lot better. The Hall sensor sticks feel a bit weird as the pivot point is a bit higher than I’m used to. I felt I wanted to make the sticks longer, which was a bit of a shame as they are not really adjustable. I solved this problem by unscrewing the stick ends, adding a bit of plastic tube as a spacer, then screwing them back on.Old school modellers will recognise the plastic tube as Sullivan Gold-n-rod outer! Curiously I found a YouTube video by someone who details a modification for making the sticks shorter! He also used a 3D-printed spacer to lower the stick units in the case. Sounds promising Dougal, just a RadioKing transmitter required now to complete the set!

Catapult King has also been busy during the lockdown and he sent me information and photos of his latest creation. Catapult has never been one to go for an easy option and his new F14 proves that! I started to build the F14 years ago but I never finished it before the Depron had dried out. So this year I decided to give it another go only this time with some modifications from the original Steve Shumate plans and using the original model as a template. The original plans will make a perfectly good flyable representation of the aircraft but as usual my goal was to go a little further on an already good design. Having found out a lot more about the flying surfaces it had to have the front looking ‘Gull wing’ shape, I just had to change ailerons for flaps and spoilers (front slats and glove veins were out due to not enough radio channels) and it just had to have EDF’s. Other than that there was nothing to it, Ha Ha!How do you turn a square engine intake to a round exhaust, whilst flaps were straight forward spoilers are not especially as they’re just in front of said flaps and then creating the ‘Gull wing’. I started with the motors and had two 50mm 10 blade 4s EDF’s which supposedly produce 650g of thrust each (should be enough I thought) and created the nacelles by setting up formers on a square length of wood and using strips of Depron strips to form the shape making sure there was enough room to put the motors and a long thrust tube taking the FSA to circa 90%.The wings were next and were made from two layers of 6mm. The general shape cut, I removed the area for the flaps then cut a section out of the top half for the spoilers (needless to say I made two right wings here) but how do you hinge spoilers and then and how to move them when the you need the mechanism to slip (up and no down can be programmed in the radio)? Sorted in the end by filing out all the holes in a control horn so that when the arm moves up it pushes the surface up but the wire slides back in the slot. This might not have a lot to do with the actual flying but the aesthetics should look good. The bulk of the flying controls will be done by the elevons.The ‘Gull wing’ effect was created by lowering where the wing root meets the fuselage. Having put the various parts together in principal and all appearing to work as planned (swing wings work, flaps and spoilers work, rudders work and elevons work and an awful lot of air comes out the back (Is that merely wind or thrust)? I then had to start the covering. Heat shrink on Depron is without a doubt a pain (Me thinks a lesson from Norwegian Nick would be useful here as the photos look good but close up??). The covering pulls the foam out of shape. Subsequently the nearer I get to finishing this thing the more unforeseen problems there are to solve. Close but no cigar.The power train is as previously mentioned two HK 50mm 10 blade EDF’s, two good old Hobby King 40 amp ECS’ and the flight weight, close at 1190g as I would like it to go vertical. Four 5g servos in the wings the rest are HK900’s so I hope the swing wing survives. Even when I do finish it how am I going to launch it? Throwing it doesn’t appear to be an option so I might need to create a trolley dolly (oops, launch dolly it is Xmas).In the meantime I got the P51 for Xmas, 400mm wing span and an absolutely horrid radio but it does look fun and looks like it should go like a little pocket rocket, just as well it has a gyro. Thanks Catapult, that F14 is quite a build!

The last new model to feature this month is another one that’s been pretty much completed but not flown yet, and this one is Captain Slow’s: It’s a Multiples Mini-Solius chuck glider that I bought at least 3 years ago to play with at the Club’s chuck glider competition; in which it was useless achieving the lowest score. (Workman & tools maybe?!)It has a wing span of 655mm, is 490mm long and with its 1S 150Mah battery, weights 80g. The radio brick is 4 channel and came from an E-Flight UMX AS3Xtra that died after too many indoor collisions at Havant.This works with my – whisper it – Spectrum Tx and has stabilisation. I plan to use the Velcro method of tow release as the spare (rudder) servo doesn’t really have enough throw or grunt. It’s intended as a proof of concept before converting my Lidl glider to RC. Captain Slow is thinking about using a Hummer for an aero-tow launch. My first thoughts were that a larger tow plane with a bit more power would be needed but reading the size and weight of the Mini-Solius I think he’s right. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this little model will perform with radio fitted.

Kryten didn’t manage to take any flying shots this month but here’s some of his that I haven’t used previously:

Video time now, this month with extra contributions from Captain Slow and Dougal Entendre. 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

This month’s ‘joke’ is a Christmas cracker special:
Why don’t aeroplanes ever study for exams?
Because they just like to wing it…

Colin Cowplain
Stay safe

Merry Christmas from all at Petersfield Aero Modellers

Have a happy and safe Christmas, let’s hope for lots of flying in the New Year.

Patch News – November 2020

2020 continues to be an awful year and Lockdown 2 prevented any flying after 4th November. As I write it appears that we’ll be able to fly again after 2nd December although the limit of six and social distancing rules will still apply. Never mind, we can cope with that. Still no club meetings for the foreseeable future but we do at least have a glimmer of hope with vaccines on the horizon so maybe meetings will be able to resume sometime next spring.Some of the Midweekers were fortunate enough to fly on the 3rd and 4th of the month but for most members there was no flying at all. November 3rd was cold and very windy so not terribly enjoyable but the following day was lovely with clear skies and very little wind, a perfect winter’s day in fact and the maximum of six booked to fly.The members maintained a safe separation both when in the pits and whilst flying. A few days after the start of lockdown a fresh herd of young and inquisitive bullocks moved into the field but the fence kept them off the patch so it remains in good condition. It will need another cut when we are able to do it although it’s perfectly flyable for most models at the moment and it should be pretty easy to mow as the bullocks have now moved out again. At last, we’ve found something good thing about the lockdown, we missed the bullocks!

I’m very sad to report that, as existing club members will already know, Gentleman Jim Hobday passed away in November. Jim had been a club member for around 10 years and was a regular at the flying field, mostly on midweek days so the Sunday fliers may not be aware of just how frequently he flew. Jim had a variety of models over the years choosing a range of foamies, ARTFs, several ’proper’ builds from kits, and a Splot built from the plan. He always did things properly, a ‘that’ll do’ job simply wasn’t in his mindset.Jim was an extremely private and modest individual so most of us knew little of his battle with cancer and it wasn’t until last month that we became aware how serious the situation had become. In the typical Gentleman Jim way he barely mentioned his health problems, merely brushing away any queries with “Oh it’s fine, everything is under control” or similar. When the inevitable became unavoidable Jim began ensuring all his affairs were in order which included asking me to take care of his modelling stuff. Many club members bought models or equipment and I bought the last model he had been assembling, a Max Thrust Riot which Jim had almost completed. Sadly, at the age of 76, Jim lost his battle on 2nd November, passing away at home in accordance with his wishes.By then Chas had purchased Jim’s Parkzone Wildcat and I had finished the Riot so we were able to fly both models in Jim’s memory before the lockdown. I have added my own personal tribute to the Riot wings.Jim’s wife Bobby has asked me to pass on her thanks to the members who bought Jim’s models and equipment raising £600 for the Macmillan Specialist Palliative Care Service at Midhurst. Rest in Peace Gentleman Jim.

Dougal Entendre wrote about the trials and tribulations of his new Jumper transmitter for us back in April and this month he’s pleased (?) to share part 2: During the first lockdown I used my Jumper T16 transmitter to buzz a couple of quadcopters around the garden. The April Patch News tells the tale of how I had to re-seat a couple of ribbon cables to get it to work properly, but it seemed fine after that.Then lockdown was lifted, and I went back to my Devo transmitters for flying proper models!
After a couple of months I thought I’d give the quads another go, but when I switched the Tx on, the gremlins had got back in and the buttons and roller didn’t work again. By then Jumper were offering replacement ribbon cables, so I got a set from a UK distributor. I was still busy with proper models though, so I didn’t get round to fitting the cables until the second lockdown.
In the photo of the Tx innards, the duff cables are the two ribbons at the top corners of the main circuit board (the one with the ARM processor on it). The replacement cables seem to be higher quality and are more flexible. At any rate, they seem to work OK (so far!).When I connected the Tx to my laptop, it advised that I update the transmitter firmware, so I downloaded the file and went through the procedure, which seemed to go fairly smoothly. However… when I switched the Tx on, all kinds of alarms went off, including one about the throttle stick not being at idle (though it was!). I recalibrated the sticks, but the message persisted. Eventually I found that the Tx had defaulted to Mode 1 when I updated the firmware, and switching it back to Mode 2 fixed that particular issue.
Then I tried to get it to work with my Devo receivers (the Tx is advertised as having a multi-protocol module which is compatible with these). When I went to the menu to select the right protocol, there was no Devo option available! It was also flashing a message that I also ought to update the firmware for the internal module. Why it couldn’t have told me that when I updated the main Tx firmware I don’t know. Instead it sat there beeping nasty alarm noises at me, making me want to hurl it across the workshop.
Anyway, I figured I had to update the module firmware. After watching several YouTube videos and getting confused about whether or not my Tx had the required bootloader, plus having to work out precisely which firmware file I needed, I eventually managed to get it sorted. It was a great relief when my Devo airborne set finally bound to the Tx and the servos moved, but my blood pressure was pretty high by then.
One of the reasons I bought this Tx was to learn how to set up models using the OpenTx firmware it runs. After many hours of re-wiring it, watching YouTube videos and faffing around updating it, I think I’m finally at the point where I can start to learn OpenTx! I note that they’ve stopped making the Jumper T16 now, and it’s been replaced by the very similar RadioMaster TX16S. It’s not a transmitter I would recommend to anyone who is not computer-literate. And come to think of it, it’s probably not a transmitter I would recommend to anyone who IS computer-literate either!
Thanks for the report Dougal, I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to buy a Christmas Jumper…

During the first lockdown, realising that I would be short of material for Patch News, I asked members to send me information on any new projects they had on the building board and was promptly swamped with stuff. So this time I decided to just ask a select few and it turns out that none of them were doing much building, typical! Never mind, some of you are building and first up is one from 1066. I know 1066 isn’t keen on building models these days, preferring to buy ARTFs and just enjoy the flying. I can relate to that, gone are my days of spending months working on a new creation and I rarely build anything from scratch. But 1066 has made an exception and is building a Wasp e2k, a model that’s designed to compete in the E2K pylon racing class, not that he’ll be competing with it.E2K came about in an attempt to have a class of pylon racing that doesn’t require expensive motors or batteries. The rules state that competitors must use an esc that limits the motor revs to 15232rpm and an APC 8×8 propeller so with everybody using the same size prop and the maximum revs limited there’s no point in specially tuned racing motors and any old 4 cell lipo will do. There are rules about the size of the models, cross sectional areas and so on to ensure they are all well matched and the racing is close. So the winner should be the pilot with the best skills not the biggest wallet. None of the rules will apply to 1066 of course, he just wants a fast, fun, sport model and the Wasp promises to be exactly that, unlike the Pichler Hi-Speed that has never quite matched his expectations.The Wasp cost £63 including delivery and 1066 says he was a bit underwhelmed on opening the box but that may be because he’s used to receiving ready covered ARTFs rather than a box of laser cut wood and a foam wing.The laser cut parts made the fuselage build pretty straightforward build and it has all gone together quickly.The biggest problem was that 1066 didn’t have any blades for his razor plane so had to resort to his orbital sander! The only change 1066 made was to top hinge the ailerons rather than using the Mylar strip provided. It’s all looking good so far and should be ready to fly in December so hopefully I can give a flying report in the next Patch News.

As I mentioned earlier I bought the Max Thrust Riot that Gentleman Jim had assembled. There was very little work needed to get it flying but I checked it all over thoroughly and read some of the reviews to know what to look for.The Riot is a V2 and I think some of the negative points I read about 0n the original version have been addressed on the V2. I did remove the snake inners and lubricated them to make sure they were running reasonably smoothly. The worst thing about it is the flimsy plastic battery box which is barely deep enough to take the recommended 2200mAh 3 cell lipo and has weak and badly designed clips to hold it closed and stop the battery falling out.I can see me cutting the whole box out before too long and sorting out something better! The Riot has a couple of wingtip lights and the instructions mention plugging the leads into a circuit board but I think that was something on the earlier version as on this one there are simply a couple of adaptor leads that plug into the receiver via a Y-lead. I was able to fly the Riot for the first time on the day following Jim’s death which seemed somehow appropriate although it was hardly an ideal day with a strong gusty wind blowing. But all went well and the Riot handled the conditions with no problems. The following morning, the last flying day before lockdown, was glorious with very light winds so I was able to enjoy the Riot much more. It seems to be a good flier, fully aerobatic, and it will be as gentle or as wild as you want. Unsurprisingly it flies much like a Wot-4. You can see it performing in this month’s video.

Those of you who are in the PAM WhatsApp group will have seen that John Warren is getting on well with his replacement Albatross.  He managed to save the fin, rudder, and ailerons from the previous model but other than those parts it’s all new. John sent me some photos showing the progress he’s made and it’s looking good so far. Most of the actual woodwork is done, the tricky cabane struts made, motor fitted, and the fuselage and tail are already covered.  The plan calls for a 60 sized 4-stroke but John will be using the same powertrain as before, a Turnigy 710Kv motor swinging a 13×6 propeller, a 60A speed controller and a 4 cell lipo. The combined wing area of the top and bottom wings is around 1000sq. in. and John expects the final weight to be around 5lbs. John says he’s open to suggestions for improvements to the powertrain but I always thought the original one was well suited to the model so I wouldn’t change anything myself.

Although we could only fly for two days this month I captured some video and Kryten took lots of superb photos:

Video time now, this month with additional video from Captain Slow and Dougal Entendre  but all from just two days of flying. 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

Rudolph the Red-nosed reindeer died over Barcelona today when he was hit by a flock of seagulls and a 747.
Eyewitnesses said “The reindeer in Spain was struck mainly by the plane…”

Merry Christmas, stay safe, here’s hoping for a better New Year.
Colin Cowplain

Patch News – October 2020

STOP PRESS: A new lockdown has just been announced, I think that will mean no flying after 4th Nov for a month.

October has come and gone, the clocks have gone back and winter has blown in. The patch has been mown a couple of times and part of it was rolled to flatten out the worst bumps. The poor weather has meant fewer opportunities to fly although the hardier members managed to fly several times in October including this dodgy looking pair: I heard that later that day Page Boy tore the wheels off Richard’s Wot-4 whilst ‘helping him’ to land! Who told me? The clue is in the photo. Since the sheep moved out in late September the field has remained animal free but there are some young and inquisitive bullocks in the lower fields so I expect they’ll be joining us before too long.

During October Bob the Builder decided to take the plunge and try his first EDF. He chose an Arrows Models Marlin. It’s a very pretty EPO foam model with a wingspan of 910mm. It’s PNP so Bob just had to screw a few bits together and program the transmitter. It comes fitted with a 64mm 11 bladed fan which is driven by a 2840 3250Kv motor, a 40A esc, and 8 x 9g digital servos which control the ailerons, elevator, rudder, and flaps. All the purchaser has to fit is a 5 channel receiver and a 4 cell lipo in the 2200-2700mAh range. It has a tricycle undercarriage which can easily be removed if you prefer to hand launch and belly land the Marlin. Even the stickers are pre-applied so it’s a very complete package for around £150. Bob asked me to test fly the Marlin and I found it flew well and handled nicely. Using full flap for landing slowed the Marlin up well and I quickly found it was best to keep a little power and speed on to stop it bouncing on touchdown. Bob had a few minutes stick time once it was in the air and was confident enough to take it off himself later but he has yet to land it. All in all a very nice EDF, good choice Bob.

While Bob was in his modelling shed working on the Marlin he also got round to repairing his HobbyKing Walrus. The Walrus had been damaged when Bob let WingCo Winkworth have a go with it and, as Bob says, he let WingCo get too low before snatching back the transmitter. The nose of the Walrus was smashed back as far as the wing leading edge but the rest of the model was undamaged so Bob simply grafted on a new balsa nose and fitted a 2836 1400Kv motor on the front. Can barely tell the difference… Well ok, it’s not the prettiest repair I’ve seen but it does the job and the Walrus now flies as well as ever. Here are before and after pictures:

During October John Warren very kindly offered his crash damaged Wot-4 complete with servos free of charge to any PAM member. I believe the model is actually a Student 64E Intermediate Trainer from HobbyKing, not a Wot-4 but it seems pretty much identical and the manual, which can be downloaded from the HK website, is actually the Wot-4 manual. But I’ve no idea what the 64 in the name stands for as the wingspan is 48”.Chas suggested it would make an ideal second plane for Charlie and at around the same time some of Gentleman Jim’s gear became available so I took on the repairs and fitted one of Jim’s receivers. I had a spare Propdrive 3536 910Kv motor and 40A speed controller which I thought would be ideal for the Wot-4. The Kv is a bit low on 3 cells but I decided that with a 12 x 6 propeller it should be fine. I didn’t have the remains of the cowl to copy so I just left the model without one, finishing the fuselage at the front bulkhead. It turned out that even with a 3300mAh lipo it was a bit tail heavy so I had to screw a lump of lead to the bulkhead which does little to enhance the looks.Apparently the Wot-4 has a ply box on the bulkhead to bring the motor further forward and help with the centre of gravity but never having owned a Wot-4 I didn’t realise that until later. The repair job wasn’t too difficult and while I was doing it I took the opportunity to make sure the front bulkhead and the undercarriage mounting were strong enough to withstand some hard landings. Along with the receiver Charlie’s mum Nadine bought a Hitec transmitter, some 3300mAh 3 cell lipos and a suitable lipo charger, all of which came from Gentleman Jim.So young Charlie now has an excellent complete set-up and I’m sure that Jim will be pleased that the equipment is being put to good use by a young newcomer to the hobby. When I did the test flight the powertrain turned out to be just right for Charlie, it has enough power for cruise around and do some gentle aerobatics but it’s not screaming around the sky even at full throttle, and flight times are a safe 6 minutes. Charlie really likes the plane and he’s being flying it well right from his first go with it. He has already done several complete flights including the take-offs and landings without breaking anything. You can see Charlie in action in two parts of this month’s video.

OK, it’s confession time. All who know me will agree that I’m a bit of smart-a**e, always ready with an insult, quick comeback, and the first to take the mickey out of others. So you’ll be pleased to hear that I made a really stupid mistake when I put my foamboard Yak-130 together. When I posted a review with photos on the Banggood website somebody pointed out that the wingtip mounted missiles are supposed to be folded in half before being attached. So it was scalpel time. I cut them off, glued them folded over on themselves, and then stuck them back on the tips.It looks so much better now. I can’t believe I got it so wrong, what an idiot…Doh!

A couple of months ago I pictured the remains of John Warren’s Albatross which had suffered a mid-flight structural failure. The model was beyond repair but, not to be defeated, John has got a replacement Albatross well under way. Well done John it’s looking good so far, there’s a lot of work gone into it already, and I love all the planking.

For one October flying session we were joined by Ben Smith as a guest flier. He flew the Dynam Hurricane that he had flown on his previous visit and also a Parkzone Spitfire. Unfortunately I forgot to take any photos at the field so I asked him for some photos and info on the models: The Spit is standard Parkzone Spit with E-flite retracts installed. Flies just so on a 2200 3s with the only gripe being the ground handling (or lack of it) which is due to the smartie-sized wheels. A little shove on take-off and she leaps up fine though with guaranteed nose over on landing!As for the Hurricane… I swapped out the supplied esc for a 50a Beatles sbec unit and run it on 2 x 2200mAh 4s packs. This did require some trimming of the foam to accommodate the two batteries side by side but everyone I spoke to who owns one has added lead to the front – I’ve tried to make the extra weight do something for me! Seems to have worked as I can easily get 10 minutes from the packs and the extra weight certainly helps punch through the air better and achieve smoother flying.
I also have swapped out the supplied wing leds, which were like candles, to some spare “strip” leds I had lying around and covered the lenses with thin paper to hide. These are connected to a brushed esc running behind a 12v regulator which allows me to switch them on and off remotely. The regulator is there to try and avoid burning the brushed esc out which has held up so far… 
The retracts are run on separate channels with delays built in to achieve the staggered effect and lighten the load on esc bec, but the retracts units need replacing as they simply haven’t held up and one has failed completely on the last outing, requiring pretty much zero airspeed to pull the wheel all the way up! Thanks Ben. Woody has just ordered one of these so now he knows what mods to make. You can see Ben’s models flying in this month’s video.

With colder weather on its way, and knowing that cold hands aren’t conducive with good flying, Dwayne Pipe decided to add a heater to his Turnigy transmitter muff. HobbyKing used to sell universal heaters that were suitable for heating transmitter muffs, lipos, or model car tyres but they aren’t available now so Dwayne  had to design his own. Dwayne bought a 12v heat plate from Banggood and added an on/off switch and warning light so he can leave a 3 cell lipo connected and simply turn it on when heat is required. The heat plate is actually made for heating beehives to warm the bees over winter and cut down on the amount of honey they eat so if you see him buzzing around…Dwayne cannabalised an old Spektrum transmitter for the on/off switch (at last someone has found a use for all those old Spektrum transmitters!) and mounted the assembly on a liteply base attached by Velcro, to insulate the heater from the plastic muff underneath and to be able to remove the heater if it’s not required. Dwayne flies mode 3 so has positioned the heat plate under his left hand but the heat warms the whole of the muff quite effectively. The plate heats up to around 40C and pulls 1A so a 2200mAh battery should last for a flying session.

I made a new best friend during October, no need to be jealous, it’s EverBuild Superglue Debonder. Don’t pretend you’ve never dripped superglue of your trousers and found it impossible to remove. I’ve previously used Loctite Glue Remover which is a gel that you leave on overnight before washing off. It worked reasonably well but often needed a second overnight application and it also removed all the colour from the spot so at around £4 for a 5ml tube I was unimpressed. The EverBuild Debonder costs just £1.85 for 20ml from Toolstation and works in 30 seconds.It’s a thin liquid so soaks into material and I needed several applications but it’s fast and works well. Being a debonder it’s intended to undo misaligned joints and so on but I’ve found it excellent at removing glue blobs from clothes and glue runs from Solarfilm etc. Apparently it’s also brilliant at removing glue blobs from kitchen worktops, stainless steel sinks, and vinyl flooring without any damage but obviously I wouldn’t know about that…

Dougal Entendre has been playing again and has put together a SonicModell Binary. Banggood describe the Binary as a 1200mm Wingspan EPO Twin Motor Multirole Aerial Survey FPV Platform Mapping RC Airplane. Gosh!This is what SonicModell says about it: This is the first time that SonicModell has released a plane based on requirements from private and government organizations to the hobby community. That’s right, Binary wasn’t born for the FPV enthusiasts, but for the people that fly every day UAVs for a living. Many of those organizations were flying several type of airframes (usually extremely large) and approached us with a list of requirements for a plane that can not only be used for their missions, but also to train new pilots. They needed something easier to carry, fully featured, and with lower risk in case of a crash. Yes, huge, heavy birds they do their job, but in the words of some of the pro pilots: “We do a lot of our missions over urban terrain… if an 8Kg UAV hits your head while you’re walking to work, your day will be ruined… Having said that, we cannot compromise performance and features. They all should be there”. Having that in mind and for the lapse of one year, we created several prototypes, until we got the perfect balance in every area without compromises. As we’re writing this, Binary has been adopted as a quick deployment UAV by 4 different government organizations, 3 private companies (Mapping, Security survey and Sea life watch). According to their records, in total, Binary has more than 375 successful missions (with no planes lost so far), hundreds of hours of training for rookie pilots and has been proven in the hardest conditions. Now it’s time to release her to the FPV community. That’s another Gosh then! Here’s what Dougal says about it: I bought the kit plus the lighting set and undercarriage set. I figured I could get the motors and propellers cheaper than the set offered by Banggood, and ended up buying a set of 4 Racerstar motors (so I’ve got a couple of spares!), same spec as the SonicModell ones except 1000kV instead of 1100. Even so, there’s tons of power and I worry that the 8045 3-blade props are overworking them, so I’m experimenting by chopping half an inch off every blade of a second pair (and rebalancing carefully!). I’ve run them in the garage but not tried it in the air yet. I’ve replaced the steerable nose-wheel because the leg bent and it stripped the output head of the servo (I think the servo itself is OK). The replacement leg is sprung so less likely to bend – I think it was one of the main legs from my Sportjet, which looks and flies much better without U/C. I think the Binary may be based on the full size Tecnam MRI, though that only has 2-bladed props. As you can see from the shot of the internals, it’s quite a busy receiver! I’ve avoided using any Y-leads, so the 12-ch Rx has outputs to the 7 servos (4 in the wing, elevator, rudder + steerable nose-wheel), two ESCs, and connection to the lighting controller. It’ll be even worse if I mount the FPV camera on a servo. I’m on plan C with transmitters, and have gone back to the Devo F12E.It’s quite big and heavy due in no small part to the FPV screen, but it’s got much better daylight visibility. Anyway the Binary flew very well. I had to wind in a load of up trim after the first flight, probably because I got the pushrod length wrong when I first did the linkages. It’s got tons of power from the 4s battery, and after 6 minute flights I was landing with about 50% remaining in the 3300mAh packs, and 60% still in the 3700mAh one. Quite fast, but capable of going much slower with the flaps down. Not surprisingly it pitches up when the flaps are dropped, so I’m going to mix in some down elevator. It didn’t steer too well after the first landing as the patch is quite bumpy, but I did manage to taxi it after flights 2 and 3. Looking forward to setting it up for FPV. I thought I’d fly it LOS (line of sight) first though as it’s quite a good looking model, and I wanted to see it flying with the lights on. Dougal’s Binary features in this month’s video where you’ll see that it flies extremely well. Sadly the lights don’t show in the video but when Dougal flew it on a very overcast day later in the month they showed up well.

Away from the patch and on a personal note for a moment, many of you will know that I had my 70th birthday in September (yes I know it’s impossible to believe I’m that old) and my daughter bought me a WW2 Dogfight Duo simulator experience for two which I enjoyed with my son on 5th October. It turned out to be ME109 and Spitfire simulators with a dividing screen between them and the pilots try to shoot each other down for thirty minutes and then swap planes for another thirty minutes. It was great fun and the simulators were surprisingly realistic. My wife Doreen took some photos and videos so if you want to see what it was it was like watch the video below.

My son bought me a 30 minute flight in a two seat Spitfire with Boultbee Flight Academy which I took on 20th October from Solent Airport Daedalus. Percy Vears had a one hour flight with Boultbee from Goodwood airfield back in June and hopefully the club will get to hear more about his flight later, maybe when club meetings resume. My flight took me east past Portsmouth harbour, then over to Ryde and west along the north coast of the Isle of Wight, then we dived down for a tight turn around the Needles, and back along the south coast of the island. I was able to take the controls for a while before we headed north for some aerobatics over the Solent, a victory roll, barrel roll, wingover, and a loop before returning to land back at Solent Airport, an amazing experience that I’ll never forget. I wasn’t allowed to film during the flight (although Boultbee make a 3D cockpit video of all flights and I’ll get a copy of my flight soon) but my family shot some video from the ground which you can view below.

 

Kryten didn’t manage to get any flying shots this month so here’s a selection of his photos from previous months:

Video time now, this month with additional video from Captain Slow, Dougal Entendre, and Charlie’s mum Nadine. 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

The air traffic controller cleared a small Cessna for landing but as the Cessna turned to final approach an airliner called in ‘over the marker’ (5 miles from the airport).
The Cessna was only about a half mile from the runway, and the controller knew he could land and clear the runway well before the airliner would land, so he cleared the airliner to land as well.
A few seconds later, the Cessna pilot asked the controller, “How far behind me is that 737?”
Before the controller could reply the airline pilot keyed his mike and in a deep bass voice said, “Don’t look back…!”

Stay Safe
Colin Cowplain

Patch News – September 2020

October has arrived and the Covid crisis continues. As you are all aware the Government restrictions were tightened in September so we have reduced the number at the patch to six again. The booking system remains in place so if you want to fly please email John Wheeley to book a slot. All members can view the bookings online to see who and when people are going but in order to keep control of the system it’s not possible for members to add themselves.

Reading the BMFA guidance it seems we could probably increase the numbers if the club does a risk assessment etc. but the feeling in the committee at present is that we shouldn’t be trying to use ‘wriggle room’. As far as I am aware no members or any of their families have contracted Covid, let’s do our best to keep it that way.

The sheep arrived in early September as farmer George had predicted but we were surprised to see there were so many, George told us there were over 500 of the woolly wonders! They did a great job of ‘mowing’ the whole field for us but of course they also fertilised every single bit of it at the same time so it’s slightly mucky.Never mind, it’s not as bad as the larger deposits that the bullocks leave for us. We were concerned that the electric fence might not stop the sheep, their thick fleeces insulate them well, but our fears were unfounded and the patch remained sheep free. They have now been moved out again and the field should remain animal free for a while.

The patch is in excellent conditions and has been mown regularly by members of the FARTS, one of whom is Kryten:As we are now into autumn the mowing duties will reduce in frequency but so will the flying opportunities and September brought some very windy days although there were a few nice days as well so we flew several times.

On the PAM WhatsApp group in mid-August Page Boy asked if anyone was interested in buying his Volantex Phoenix 1600 electric glider. I’d been vaguely thinking about selling my little Boeing Stearman as I rarely fly it so I suggested doing a straight swap. Page Boy agreed we exchanged models a few days later. I was away on holiday at the beginning of September when I received some aerial shots of the Stearman from Page Boy that either Richard Osborn or his daughter Nicole had taken. I said “Don’t crash it” and he confessed that he’d already done so! Page Boy said that the Stearman failed to get away from the first take-off attempt but it must have survived undamaged as there were lots of photos of it in the air. Maybe he’d never flown a draggy biplane before.

I had done the maiden flight of the Phoenix for Page Boy when he first put it together so I knew it was a nice flier. On my return from holiday I fitted one of my receivers and flew the Phoenix. But about two minutes into the first flight there was suddenly no power and I realised the motor had failed. Page Boy said my 15 day warranty had just expired! When I examined the motor I found that the wire insulation had burnt through and the motor was dead. It’s a known problem on those motors so I replaced it with a spare Propdrive motor I had in my spares box and it’s now back flying again. It’s a great flier, more aerobatic than the Phoenix 2000 but not such a good glider of course.
Now if I could just work out how to turn the speed controller brake on to stop the folding prop from windmilling…

Along with the Stearman photos there were also some of Richard’s new model, a pretty Cirrus SR22T from E-flite. The Cirrus is 1500mm span foamie that comes in a Plug’n’Play package and is equipped with the Spektrum SAFE technology. This is what the E-flite website says about the full-size and model: Cirrus Aircraft has blazed a trail for the future of single-engine aircraft by developing modern safety, performance and amenity standards pilots crave. Generation 6 of their SR22T carries on the innovation hot-streak. As a result, more pilots can consider personal air travel the practical everyday commuting solution predicted by technology experts decades ago. The E-flite® Cirrus SR22T 1.5m park flyer is an officially licensed replica inspired by the original to deliver rich detail and a host of modern functional features that make scale flight an uncompromised thrill ride for more RC pilots than ever before.

The E-flite® Cirrus SR22T 1.5m celebrates the general aviation marvel with a scale model that’s easy to appreciate and fun to fly for a wide range of pilots. Like the full-scale airplane, this officially licensed E-flite replica is generously appointed with features that will get you in the air and flying in style. The two-piece, plug-in wing is equipped with slotted flaps, lights and a convenient Hands-Free Servo Connection System. Functional interior cabin and exterior navigation LED lighting combine with its modern trim scheme for authenticity that’s easy to appreciate from any angle. Rugged tricycle landing gear and steerable nose gear utilize over-size wheels to make take-offs and landings on grass fields or paved surfaces seem effortless while matching fairings and wheel pants complete the luxurious outline. Tinted cabin windows, a pilot figure and detailed cockpit take the scale experience even deeper. Plus, the powerful brushless motor and three-blade propeller deliver plenty of power to perform scale manoeuvres and sport aerobatics with ease.The Cirrus comes with an E-flite BL10 1250Kv outrunner,, an 11×7.5 three bladed prop, and a 40A speed controller. There are six 9g servos operating ailerons, elevator, rudder, flaps, and steerable nose-wheel. That nose-wheel looks a bit off in the first of the flying photos! Richard is using a 3700mAh 3 cell lipo so should get good long flights. I haven’t seen the Cirrus yet but it looks really nice in the photos and Page Boy (who did the maiden flight) said it flew extremely well and with the flaps down it landed at walking pace so is an ideal second model for Richard.

We has a visitor to the patch in September, Ben Smith, who contacted me via the club Facebook page and asked if it was ok to come along and see what we were all about. Unfortunately I was away on the Sunday he came but others took a photo and some video of Ben flying his Hawker Hurricane. It’s a foamie from Dynam and looks to be a good model. It’s 1250mm span, 1003mm long and weighs around 1450g. It comes with a 600Kv brushless outrunner, a 40A esc and a 3 bladed prop. It has worm drive electronic retracts which presumably means they go up and down in a nice scale like manner. Dynam suggest using a 3000mAh 4 cell lipo which should give flights of around 10 minutes.You can see it flying in this month’s video, Ben looks to be a very capable flier and hopes to join the club shortly.

In September I got around to putting together the Yak-130 that I’d bought from Banggood a couple of months ago.I chose it because it has more of a fuselage than the other foamboard models and despite basically being a square foam box I think it looks rather pretty, especially in the air. It didn’t come with any instructions but the method of assembly is pretty similar to the SU-27s & Mig-29s that HobbyKing sell. I used a hot melt glue gun for all the joints that can’t be seen from the outside of the finished model and cyano for the joints that can be seen. Hot melt works well on foamboard but is a bit messy and doesn’t look very good, cyano doesn’t melt the foamboard and seems to work ok but I’m not convinced that it’s as strong as hot melt. You do need to be very careful when using cyano as it’s very easy to spoil the printed coloured finish with just a tiny drop in the wrong place… ask me how I know! The kit includes a carbon tube wing spar and a few pieces of flat carbon strip that fit into pre-cut slots in the wing, tailplane, and fin. The ailerons are cut out but remain attached by the thinnest of foamboard hinges and I didn’t think they’d last long in flight so I used Blenderm tape over the top and I also used Blenderm to attach the elevator. There are pre-cut holes for the servos and all the linkages and control horns are supplied and they all fitted perfectly. There is a ply plate to mount the motor, once fitted the motor can’t be removed without cutting the plate out of the airframe. As with the other foamboards I’ve opened up the propeller slot considerably to reduce the prop noise. I used exactly the same powertrain as I already have in both my SU-27 and Mig-29, a 2306 2200Kv drone motor fitted with a 6×4.5 prop and a 3 cell lipo with a capacity of anything from 1300mAh to 2200mAh. I initially fitted a 25A speed controller I had in my spares box but on the first flight I discovered two problems, firstly that it seems to be in helicopter mode and takes about 5 seconds to power up to full speed, and secondly 25A isn’t enough. Some of the first flight can be seen in this month’s video where you’ll see that the motor suddenly stops due to the speed controller objecting to the high current. Fortunately the Yak was over the patch in a very strong wing at the time so the plane simply floated backwards and landed on the patch! I used a 6×3 prop for the rest of the flights that day and didn’t have any more over current problems but I haven’t been able to change the helicopter mode so I’ve now fitted a 30A controller that is in the correct mode. The Yak flies very well, similar to the other foamboards, although like the Sukhoi, I intend to fit a rudder to improve the handling when in high alpha.

On the morning of Sunday 27th September Dougal Entendre and others were flying and Dougal was making the most of some slope lift with his Multiplex Blizzard in the strong northerly wind. He had a good first flight but this is what he reports happened next: Just prior to launching for the 2nd flight I saw a low helicopter to the North, so I didn’t launch. Just as well, because it came almost directly across the patch at about 3 times house height, towards the IOW. It was a red Gazelle, and fortunately none of us were flying at the time, or there could have been a conflict. Fortunately there was no problem this time and we have never had a problem with full-size aircraft but it serves as a reminder to us all to always be alert and aware of other aviation.

On the last Saturday of September we met up with prospective new members Stephen Crowley and his son Max. There was a very strong wind blowing so we didn’t fly but we checked over the model they have built. It’s a 42” Balsa Basics Cub produced by Vintage Models, a three channel trainer that is described as ‘docile and friendly’.Stephen and Max have made a good job of the model and only a couple of minor issues were pointed out which should be easily sorted. Unfortunately with Covid limiting the numbers at the patch, winter approaching, and Max being at school five and a half days a week it might be a while before Stephen and Max are able to get much flying in but hopefully we’ll be able to get them in the air before too long.

Meanwhile young Charlie has been doing well with his FMS Easy Trainer as has now done several flights from launch to landing with no instructor assistance at all. His first landing was on the patch and it quite rightly earned him a well-deserved round of applause from all in the pits. The strong September winds curtailed some of his flying but he’s coming on in leaps and bounds. His next model will be a secondhand Wot-4 kindly donated by John Warren.

A couple of days ago I saw one of our near neighbours posting leaflets through letterboxes and I was intrigued to know what they were. Would it be raising money for the NHS, a socially distanced coffee morning, an 80th Battle of Britain celebration? In due course he reached our letterbox and I rushed to read it…he’d lost his drone!I’ve removed the chaps name and address to save his embarrassment. I know I shouldn’t laugh but it did strike me as rather funny. I had seen a drone buzzing around a couple of times but couldn’t work out where it was from, now I know! It was extremely windy the day he lost it, much too windy for a lightweight drone, so I’m not surprised the Return to Home function didn’t work, his best bet would to be to follow a line downwind. At the moment I don’t know if he’s got it back or not but I would imagine someone would be kind enough to hand it over if they found it.

Kryten took some more excellent photos this month, here’s a selection for you to enjoy:

Video time now, 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

An F-4 Phantom pilot at a joint military and civilian airfield requested clearance to take off, but the Air Traffic Controller told him he’d have to hold due to the large amount of civilian traffic.
After several repeatedly impatient requests to take-off by the Phantom pilot the Controller suggested that if the pilot could reach 14,000ft within half the runway length he could take off; otherwise he would have to continue to hold.
To the Controller’s surprise the Phantom pilot acknowledged the tower and began to roll. At the runway halfway marker the aircraft pulled up vertically and kept going until it reached 14,000ft, then levelled off.
The Air Traffic Controller had no option than to hand the Phantom pilot over to Departures and wish him a nice day, since the pilot had met the conditions laid down. He said it was the most amazing thing he’d ever seen!

Colin Cowplain

Patch News – August 2020

I suppose after all that’s happened in 2020 nothing should surprise me but the August weather still came as a bit of a shock. It varied from several days of unbearable heat with the highest temperature recorded for 17 years to 70mph gales and of course several storms. Halfway through the month the bullocks returned to the field but they are mostly not interested in us, requiring just an occasional shooing away if they get too nosey. Late in the month the bullocks went and sheep are expected, a first since we’ve had an electric fence so things might get interesting!There was lots of flying, mainly by the usual regulars, but young Charlie, Chris Winkworth (WingCo), and our latest recruit Richard Osborn all flew several times and seem to be getting on well and are learning fast.

This month we heard the very sad news that Ron Vears’ wife Rosemary passed away on 15th August having bravely fought cancer for more than three years. Rosemary was a great supporter of Ron when he was our club Chairman for three years and she attended many of the club social events where she was always a happy and popular figure. Our thoughts are with Ron and we hope to see him flying with us again soon.

Several new models were flown during August, and the first I’ll feature shocked us all when it eventually made an appearance after about three years of building. Yes, Captain Slow’s Splot (or should it be called Splate?) has flown!It’s pretty much a standard Splot although Captain Slow has fitted ‘normal’ wingtips rather than the usual Splot endplates, thus increasing the span from 36” to 1m. The weight is 35ozs without the lipo. He is using a 3536 1000kv motor that he salvaged from his Durafly Ugly Stick and a 40A esc from a Wot4 Foam-E. Powered by a 2200mAh 3 cell lipo it swings an 11 x 5.5 prop and only pulls around 23A so the Captain should get decent flight times. He has stuck to the original single centre mounted servo on the ailerons and soldered up his own rock solid undercarriage. After such a long wait, tales of woe, problems with various types of covering and more, the flight was an anti-climax, it just flew as it should with just a little trim needed. I think it will become a firm favourite although maybe it’s a bit too quick for Captain Slow’s sedentary ways! You can see some of the first flight in this month’s video.

Page Boy first flew his Slec Fun Fly on 31st July, too late for the last Patch News. Page Boy says the laser cut kit was perfect and, although he was surprised to see so many lite-ply parts, the final weight came out at 4lbs which is fine. He is using a Turnigy G25 motor fitted with a 12 x 6 propeller and a 60A Hobbywing speed controller all powered by a 4 cell 2650mAh lipo. Page Boy originally bought some Futaba S3003 servos on eBay only to discover that they were fakes so he binned them and bought some standard sized metal geared ones from 4-Max instead.The covering is HobbyKing green and white film and he intends to add some trim later. I think the ‘cockpit’ needs to be black, it would look much nicer. The first flight went well and Page Boy seemed very happy with the performance.

Page Boy also flew a Wingnetic that he won in a club raffle ages ago but has only just got round to putting together. The maiden flight went well, in fact Page Boy said the Wingnetic flew better than he had expected, excellent.

When WingCo first came to see us he brought along a model that he had built. We checked it over and declined to fly it until it had been fitted with ailerons as we didn’t rate it’s chances very highly with just rudder and elevator controls. WingCo duly went away and fitted ailerons as suggested and also a rather large castoring tailwheel.Dougal Entendre was given the dubious honour of doing the first flight which proved ‘interesting’! Initially Dougal had trouble getting the model off the ground (he blames the tailwheel) and once it was in the air he had trouble trimming the ailerons. He soon realised the ailerons weren’t working as they should so quickly landed and then discovered that the linkage to the port wing aileron had come undone. Dougal did well to get it down safely without any damage so with the problems sorted it should be fine next time out. WingCo is also putting a trainer together.

Kryten captured this great shot of Dougal’s FPV Skyfun whizzing past John Warren’s Jocasta. “Coming through”!Dougal also captured some nice air-to-air screenshots of others members’ models from his FPV video footage.

Mini-Mike had a bit of a moment with his large scale P.68 Partenavia Victor one day. He had just taken off when suddenly both motors cut but fortunately he got down safely with no damage to the plane. On investigation Mini-Mike realised what had happened and confessed that when he intended to raise the flaps he’d hit the wrong switch and turned on Throttle Cut instead. Now what sort of idiot would do make an elementary stupid mistake like that…says the man who has done exactly the same thing with his own Avios BushMule…twice!

One model that didn’t survive the month was John Warren’s Albatross. The model has had rather a chequered history with several crashes and rebuilds. I’ve flown it several times and it’s flown well enough although I think it was a step too far for John’s piloting skills. John brought it along following the latest rebuild and asked me to test fly and trim the model. It took off ok although it needed quite a lot of aileron trim but when I began a fairly gentle right hand turn the starboard bottom wing abruptly failed, dropping down by about 30 degrees.I’ve never seen a wing fold downwards before, no idea what broke. Apparently, unseen by me, John had been repairing one of the interplane struts prior to the flight so I imagine that was a factor. There was nothing I could do and the Albatross spun in and was terminally damaged. It’s a shame as the model had looked good in the air on previous flights although, as can be seen in one of Kryten’s photos, it was prone to a variety of inflight failures.Look closely and you’ll see a trailing rigging wire as well as the more obvious loose tyre. Not to be defeated John has already started building a replacement Albatross, let’s hope he builds in some more quality this time.

On a more cheerful note Woody (or Major Disaster as Captain Slow now calls him) has built a rather nice Tucano from a Phoenix Model Products kit. He has fitted a Ripmax Quantum 25 motor, a 60A speed controller and an 11 x 7 prop. It runs on a standard 3 cell lipo in the 2200 to 3000mAh range and weighs around 3 1/2lbs with the battery. Woody chose the colour scheme of the RAF Tucano Display Team aircraft ZF448 and it looks very smart in mostly black but with some yellow trim. The test flight went very well with no problems. Just don’t mention bananas…It’s a lovely flier, quite gentle but fully aerobatic with no vices so it should prove to be the ideal model for Woody.

We had an interesting moment at the field one day when Dougal and 1066 decided to do some synchronised flying with their electric gliders. Dougal was using his Multiplex Blizzard and 1066 his ST Models Blaze, a pair that are reasonably well matched for flying together. Unfortunately they only got as far as pulling up to climb and turn at the end of the first pass when they collided! I don’t think of either of them was particularly at fault so I’ll blame them both equally. Immediately after they touched Dougal realised he had a control problem but he made it back to the patch and landed safely. 1066 on the other hand seemed to have full control but no power so he had to land out.When we looked at the damage we found that Dougal’s Blizzard had one aileron hanging off and the control linkage to that aileron has disappeared, while on 1066’s Blaze the whole nose complete with the motor was hanging off. Presumably the Blaze prop had hit the Blizzard’s aileron linkage which broke half the prop and the ensuing vibration tore the whole nose off! Fortunately both models were easily repaired and were soon flying again…but not together.

Rumour has it that 1066 also had another very near miss but this time without any damage. Apparently, one day when I was absent, he did a low inverted pass with one of his foam 3D machines in the normal ‘I can get lower than you can’ way when he actually scraped the fin along the ground before climbing safely away! Sadly nobody has any photographic proof of this event so I’ve asked 1066 to repeat it for me to film but so far he’s declined…chicken!

Newbie Richard Osborn has been looked after mostly by Page Boy and is learning quickly with his Wot4 Foam-E.Chas has also watched over Richard for a few flights, an experience that I think they both enjoyed.

I spotted this in a free paper the other day about the Coastguard trialling drones for search and rescue missions: Although we don’t fly drones the general public and government seem to link model aircraft to drones so any positive publicity for drones can only be a good thing, it makes a change from the bad press they normally get.

Recently I’ve been posting photos of the build of Dwayne Pipe’s latest edf model, a Folland Gnat. Dwayne drew his own plans for the Gnat, scaling everything up from an Airfix plastic kit that he’d been given for Christmas.The Gnat is 36” span and also 36” long, Dwayne confesses that he has increased the size of the wings and tail by 20% to reduce the wing loading. The completed model weighs 2lb 15oz with a 4 cell pack which gives a wing loading of 20.6oz/sq. ft. Power is provided by a 12 bladed 70mm fan from Banggood coupled to a HobbyKing 80A speed controller and this gives 2lb 4oz of thrust and pulls 50A. This month Dwayne got the Gnat all finished in a nice Red Arrows colour scheme and asked me to do the test flight. He was unsure if there would be enough power using a 4 cell lipo so he had set the model up to take either 4 or 6 cells. To me 4 cells felt to be providing enough thrust so we decided to do the first flight with that. Dwayne launched the Gnat and it simply climbed away with just a little down trim being needed. The Gnat performed the usual rolls, loops, stall turns, and inverted with no problem at all so after four very enjoyable minutes I landed it safely back on the patch and declared the model to be a triumph.Unusually Dwayne flies Mode 3 so I had lent him a Multiplex receiver and set the Gnat up on my transmitter in my usual Mode 2. Alongside my Multiplex receiver Dwayne fitted one of his Futaba receivers so after I had trimmed the Gnat he simply swapped the servo leads from my receiver to his own, copied the trim settings to his transmitter and flew the model himself, simples. The only minor problem Dwayne had was that when landing he found the Gnat floated on more than he had expected and he overshot the patch. Not a problem, the Gnat landed gently. But… Dwayne was in for a shock when he retrieved it…remember the bullocks were in the field! The Gnat had skidded through some very fresh poo which filled both air intakes! In this month’s video you’ll see snippets of both flights.

Kryten sent me lots of his superb flying shots this month, some of which you can see below. I update the cover photo of the club Facebook page most weeks and this week I used one that Kryten had taken of my Stearman.BMFA then posted it on their Facebook site, giving us a free plug and web link. It’s already had almost 2000 views! Video time now, this month with additional contributions from Dougal Entendre and Captain Slow, 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

A huge military Lockheed C-5 Galaxy was sitting on the tarmac near a little Cessna that was waiting to take off.
The Cessna pilot was rather nervous of the C-5 and asked the tower to check the intentions of the military plane.
Before the tower could reply the C-5’s huge nose cargo doors opened and a voice came over the radio booming:
“I’M GOING TO EAT YOU!” 

Colin Cowplain