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.
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.