It’s the first Patch News of 2022 and I’m pleased to report there has been a lot of flying going on. The weather was very mild with record breaking January temperatures and also the lowest January rainfall for 25 years apparently. Although the warm dry weather was good for flying it also made the grass grow, so much so that we had to mow the patch, something we don’t normally need to do during the winter months. A plus point is that cutting it made the patch much easier for Dougal Entendre and I to see when flying FPV.
The mowing went well, we told Gordon Bennett to get on with it while the rest of us stood around and let Woody explain just how good his spot landings are to anyone who’d listen.
Later in the month we were joined in the field by a couple of hundred sheep for about ten days. Fortunately sheep are much less of a problem to us than the bullocks can be although some of them did start to show some interest in the models in the pits one day.
Chas reckoned they just wanted to have a fly. Farmer George said they were all pregnant ewes and asked that we didn’t fly low over them and scare them.
We had light winds for much of the month which gave us perfect conditions for the tiny models some of us have. I’ve been really impressed by the little Eachine Mustang that I’ve been flying for a couple of months and at the beginning of January I spotted the Eachine F22 Mini Raptor with three batteries on sale for just £55.09 on the BangGood UK website. I had a discount voucher which brought price down to £47.92 including tracked delivery and insurance. If you buy an item from the UK website there are no worries about getting stung for import duties and the associated collection fees plus the delivery is very fast, I ordered late afternoon on a Wednesday and it arrived on Friday morning, excellent.
With a wingspan of just 260mm the Raptor really is tiny but it’s fitted with a receiver, two servos, an esc, a six axis gyro, and a motor spinning a 63mm pusher propeller.
It comes with the same transmitter as the others in the range and has three settings for the gyro and a button for an automatic roll or loop that works even when it’s in Beginner mode. Flying the Raptor is ‘interesting’! Unlike the Mustang which with no stick input will simply fly straight and level I think the Raptor would crash if left alone for more than a few seconds. The gyro seems to act in a slightly different way and the elevator is very sensitive resulting in an undulating flight which can be seen in this month’s video.
Obviously these tiny models disappear into the distance very quickly and being fast, grey, and a slightly unusual shape makes the Raptor a bit tricky but overall it’s a lot of fun to fly. For Christmas Ian Daniels treated himself to another in the range, the Eachine Spitfire, but as he is unwell at the moment he hasn’t been able to fly it yet. We wish you all the best Ian and look forward to seeing you back at the patch and flying the Spitfire before too long.
Not many new models appeared in January but Gordon Bennett came along with a rather nice Ripmax Mini Bolero that he’d put together. Things turned into a bit of a tale which I’ll let Gordon tell: Why a Mini Bolero you ask? Well, OK you didn’t but Colin Cowplain did, so now you’ve all got to suffer my reply. He said you’d like to know about the ‘power train’ but I’m not sure I know what that is, so I’ll write something else instead.
I’ve always been a massive aircraft fan but haven’t had anything to do with models since I was a kid. Actually, that’s not quite true, I did dabble with a Concept 30 Helicopter 20 years ago but never got to a very good standard. I could hover and fly a basic circuit but anything ‘nose in’ tended to rapidly turn to ‘crash-in’. After a while the gloss wore off.
Undaunted, around 10 years ago, I bought a Kiel Kraft Stearman kit (modern technology, rubber power). I had aspirations of being a builder. I’ve cracked on with it during the dark nights and I’m pleased to tell you I’ve nearly finished the fuselage. It’s not covered or anything, I don’t want to rush it, and quite a few of the longerons need repair after I accidently sat on it, but one day it will be gracing the skies and you can marvel at the ‘build quality’.
Along came Covid. Keen to get out of doors and DO something I bought a Mini Sport Cub S. This was tossed around like a leaf in anything but a dead calm and had virtually zero battery life. Pretty annoyed with the advice a certain model shop have given me I called in to give them a piece of my mind and exact some restorative justice. Well, it couldn’t have gone any better and they sold me a Valiant while not resolving any of the issues with the Cub.
The Valiant did turn out to be a pretty good trainer. I flew it in my local park but wanted to do more which is where PAM came in. (I have to be careful here as Pam is my wife’s name and I don’t want to stray into touch and go stories of the marital kind.) Here was a group of like-minded people I could learn from. Eh – hem. As you all had at least 15 aircraft each I decided I needed something more sporty and upgraded to my Acrowot.
The Acrowot turned out to be a much more interesting platform and I still love to fly it. I’m normally trying to imitate either the big graceful stuff that Chas does or some the inverted stuff Dougal Entendre does. I’ve managed to combine the two and fly jerky routines, inverted momentarily.
But still I wanted more. Enter the Mini Bolero. This would allow me to (and I quote) ‘excel in 3D flight and fast agile manoeuvres’, also you can dial down the throws making it ‘docile enough to learn aeros’. So with hazy balletic images of Torville and Dean (or was it that great scene with Dudley Moore in 10) I bought the ARTF kit.
Ripmax make the kit (not everyone knows that Ripmax is derived from our hobbies ability to rip through your available cash at maximum speed) and it’s a really pretty model. Thoughtfully they’ve made the cut-outs slightly too small for the servos so you get the chance to stab yourself with the modelling knife while you enlarge them. Fitting the control surface hinges involve gluing yourself to the model with low viscosity cyano but thankfully A&E is getting really quite good at ungluing people from things like roads since the protests.
On the upside, if the authorities ever need a full set of my fingerprints they’ll be able to find my actual skin, let alone the prints, on my model.
Maiden day. The ESC went straight into LVC surging as someone had programmed it incorrectly. The first few minutes were erratic to say the least but as things improved, I was smitten. I’m not experienced enough to tell you what’s good about it or why I like it but it just ‘feels right’. Subsequent flights improved even further and I began to feel I was almost keeping up with it.
Day two, Friday gardening and flying. Things went well on all flights. Confidence grew and with the sun setting and love hearts in my eyes I tried an inverted circuit. All was well until the turn onto base leg which was sloppy and losing height. At which point I lost her into the sun. Last seen silhouetted near the hedge pointing vertically down around 3’ of altitude.
The wreckage indicated she’d gone in on the nose and right wing. Fuselage reduced to Swan Vestas and the wings main spar now repositioned as the trailing edge. The bell at Lloyd’s was rung and a crow cawed above the patch.
Still, plenty more Boleros in the sea so I’ve bought another one. The second build is going much better than the first and if things continue like this, after my next few Boleros, Mr Ripmax will probably want to engage my building services.
I have to modify the battery compartment to get the c of g right but other than that she’s nearly finished so Bolero II, The Sequel, will be on the patch soon.
Oh yes, Colin. It’s got a 2217-1100Kv spinning thing with a 10×5 flymo part on the front. 30A esc and the superior ‘best money can buy’ Spektrum tx/rx. You’re only jealous. Thanks Gordon, that’s excellent, apart from the rubbish bit about Spektrum!
Dougal and I have been flying our FPV models for a while now and overall seem to manage well with just the occasional problem to upset things. In January Dougal took off with his Sonic-Modell Binary twin motored plane only to have both motors stop when he was less than a couple of hundred feet high. Had he been flying normal ‘line of sight’ he might have been able to crank it round back to the patch but flying FPV the only option was to use the full-size mantra ‘If the motor(s) cut on take-off never attempt to turn back to the runway’. So he glided straight ahead, cleared the lower track, and landed safely in the lower field. The most dangerous part was retrieval when the bullocks seemed unusually aggressive at the model’s intrusion. Maybe they knew it should have been in our field not theirs!
During the subsequent investigation Dougal found the digital video camera was running (but not recording) and wouldn’t turn off, and that the navigation lights weren’t working correctly. The camera was quickly sorted by removing and replacing the battery and the problem with the lights turned out to be a loose connection between the light control unit and the receiver. Dougal thinks the loose connection must have caused an electronic spike that upset the camera and shut down the speed controller. Fortunately the FPV camera kept running so he still had the picture on the goggles. The short flight was recorded by the DVR in Dougal’s goggles and you can see exactly what Dougal saw in this month’s video.
While I’m talking about FPV I’ll show you this screenshot taken from one of my January FPV videos . Why am I showing you this? Just because I think it’s a really good photo!
I flew my Ranger at fairly high altitude as far as I dared towards the masts until my spotter said I was just about at the limit of his vision. By then I was getting some break-up on my goggles so it was definitely time to turn round and head back to the safety of our field.
Towards the end of last year Geoff Hill came along to see us about joining the club and I’m pleased to say that he is now a member. Geoff has lots of full-size experience but is new to radio controlled models. He has a Bixler with a buddy box set-up, perfect for learning.
I know 1066 gets upset if I don’t mention him in Patch News, he doesn’t like feeling left out. So purely in an effort to keep him happy here’s some photos of his Cirus the Mirus. I’m not sure what happened but 1066 says it wasn’t him! No worries, it’ll soon buff out!
Back to Gordon now for tales of a Spitfire. Have I ever mentioned that I’ve had a flight in one? Oh alright, I’ll shut up… over to Gordon: Spitfire Scramble: I was gifted a Spitfire a while back. It’s a vintage Parkzone complete with the latest 27 MHz radio system. It’s not in a bad state for its age but the nickel battery showed no sign of life with no free electrons willing to jump around. I think I’m right in saying an atom without an electron is an ion, yes I’m positive. Ho ho. Some of these jokes are like meeting an old friend.
The airframe is made from a foam that resembles the interior of a Crunchie bar, covered in a type of cling film with a motif similar to Captain Slow’s trousers. The cling has started to delaminate so it was out with the cyano again.
Anyway, I stuffed a Lipo in it, did some rudimentary checks and bought it up to the field last week. Running up the engine on my final pre-flight test something big fell off and the level of vibration made two of my fillings fall out. Various senior members gave helpful advice without me even asking for it and the Spitfire was returned to the hanger.
Receiver and ESC combo were stripped out and replaced by more modern equipment (I’m now able to use it with the previously mentioned superior Spektrum Tx). A shiny new GF prop replaced the old nylon one that Dougal had laughed at and the big thing that fell off was thrown in the bin.
Take two. Things looked a lot better so Colin Cowplain kindly launched it skyward even though there were general crowd murmurings about a perceived shortage of take-off ummph. Despite the C of G and control surfaces having been carefully set by the pre-flight engineers using laser levelling and a theodolite, it was hopelessly out of trim and required plenty of ‘nose down’.
With the first circuit just about completed things seemed to be settling down and the test flight continued. Downwind, two things happened. Firstly, I started to lose sight of it against the murky background and secondly, the engine stopped.
Even though I’m a newly certified ‘A’ (where dead stick landings had to be demonstrated) I immediately froze while the model bucked and stalled. In the spirit of ‘aviate, navigate, communicate’ Colin shouted ‘Keep the speed up’ which turned out to be good advice. People often proffer handy hints and compliments while I’m flying. Only last week Dougal bounded over yelling ‘What the hell are you doing?’ as my Acrowot disappeared over the horizon in the direction of Basingstoke. It’s not my fault the earth is curved.
Luckily, control of the Spitfire was regained and I just managed to limp it back into the corner of the field where its landing was cushioned by a generously sized sheep turd. Model intact, pilot in therapy.
Post flight examination assisted by Woody showed the ‘good value’ Lemon rx I’d bought of EBay, sportingly chops the motor power at any Tx/Rx distance over 15 feet. Dwain Pipe also pointed out that the aircraft colour scheme was in fact called ‘camouflage’, which makes things have a habit of disappearing and should never be flown near Captain Slows trousers in case the two become confused with clearly dangerous repercussions. Back to the hanger for more fettling. Take three imminent.
Thanks Gordon. Since writing the above Gordon has replaced the Lemon receiver with a genuine Spektrum and has now had several successful flights with no further problems,
Dougal Entendre is well known for his low inverted passes, so we were of course very disappointed when Dougal got one wrong. None of us shrieked with laughter obviously…! He was flying his Mini Blitz and inexplicably pulled up elevator instead of pushing down. Fortunately the damage wasn’t too bad although there is certainly some work to be done. Dougal had cleaned most of the mud from the motor by the time the photos were taken.
Video time now, this one with footage shot by myself, Dougal, Captain Slow, and Gordon. 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 airline Captain introduced himself to the passengers as usual and then continued:
“British Airways are proud to have some of the best Flight Attendants in the business.”
“Sadly none of them are on this flight…”