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.