The start of September was rather windy but mostly dry, the first signs of autumn were upon us. Farmer George put lots of sheep in the flying field but they didn’t really cause us any problems and they were gone again by the middle of the month. They returned in the last few days of September but I doubt that they’ll be with us for long. The bullocks are currently in the lower field so we’ll probably be graced with their presence quite soon. With the end of the dry spell the grass recovered and shot up so the patch had to be mown for the first time for ages. Fortunately I was away on holiday so I missed that little treat!
Dwayne Pipe caused some general chaos when he managed to fly his foamboard Sea Vixen into Harper’s Oak one Friday afternoon. He says he thought the plane was on the field side of the trees and was quite shocked when it suddenly stopped dead, surrounded by leaves! Several members wandered over to enjoy the spectacle… no sorry… they wandered over to help, yes, that was it! I promptly managed to snag myself on the barbed wire fence and proved that blood thinners really do work rather well, the stream of blood running down my left looked fairly dramatic but really wasn’t very bad at all. The Sea Vixen was lodged at the end of a branch, fairly high up in the tree, too difficult to reach by climbing so we began our retrieval efforts by attaching a large screwdriver to the bungee from Dwayne’s EDF launcher and tried to throw it over the branch, hoping to shake the model free.
All this achieved was getting the screwdriver stuck in the tree so there was much pulling and waving about of the bungee in an effort to free it, all to no avail. Then Woody decided the only thing to do was to pull really hard on the bungee which ultimately proved to be successful but also very dangerous as when the screwdriver finally became free it speared Woody’s thumb. This produced a lot more blood along with lots of laughter! Of course it could have been a whole lot more serious had it hit Woody’s head or chest. At this point it started to rain and we decided to abandon the plane for the time being and come up with a better plan. So the following morning four of us returned armed with a step-ladder and various poles, gaffer tape, tie-wraps, rope, and anything else we thought might be useful. Bob the Builder had brought a sturdy cardboard tube to which we fixed pieces of plastic pipe to make it reach the model. The whole contraption was very bendy but with the mixed skills of three engineers and one postman (all retired) we were able to reach the model.
One wit said it was like watching an episode of Last of The Summer Wine or Dad’s Army! Woody insisted that we should guide the pole through the central propeller slot but I think he was just reminiscing about his days as a postman. Eventually after a lot of guidance from the other three Woody managed to get the remains of the plane back on terra firma. I say remains because by this time the poor Sea Vixen had seen much better days.
Never mind, overall the mission was a success. Dougal, who had returned to work earlier that week and missed the whole thing was heard to remark “I can’t leave you lot alone for five minutes without you getting into trouble.” I think he has a point…
Has anyone noticed the new HobbyKing Frenzy that they are advertising at the moment? It looks identical to a Max Thrust Riot to me, I have a Riot I can’t see any difference at all apart from the colour scheme. In the past HobbyKing have had some really good prices but now the UK warehouse has closed and it’s no longer possible to order models from the European warehouse the postage from Hong Kong make their prices unviable.
Today the Frenzy is showing as costing £192.51 but there is a ‘shipping discount’ of £33.69 making the price £158.82 which is a good deal. But the cheapest shipping to the UK comes up as £98.34 which brings the delivered price £257.16. At the moment Kings Lynn models are offering a Riot for £169.00 with free delivery which makes it £88.16 cheaper than HobbyKing. I’ve been a huge fan of HobbyKing in the past and have bought loads of stuff but sadly with the current set-up it simply doesn’t make sense to buy from them. It’s a great shame and I really hope they can sort out a better deal for UK modellers soon.
There weren’t many new models flown in September but Norwegian Nick showed up with a couple of interesting ones. The first is a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, an interesting and fairly unusual subject for a model but it’s actually an ideal subject for foamboard.
The Blackbird was a Strategic Reconnaissance (SR) aircraft that flew at over Mach 3 and 85000 feet altitude. Amazingly its’ first flight was in 1964, 58 years ago…does everyone feel old now?! Nick built his from a plan drawn up by Laddie Mikulasko which is available from Sarik Hobbies. They offer three different deals, you can buy just the plan for £17, or a laser cut Depron pack for £25, or a Short Kit containing both the plan and laser cut pack for £38.50.This is the description from the Sarik Hobbies website: Designed by Laddie Mikulasko, this is a quick and easy 693 mm span electric profile sport-scale build from the CAD drawn large single sheet plan. All Depron construction with some balsa and spruce strip, and uses an economical BL2212/06 2200KV motor, 40 Amp ESC and 3S 3000 Lipo with a 6″x4″ in. APC-E prop. A delight to fly.
Nick’s model is 693mm span and 1270mm long, so rather larger than I first thought when I saw the photos. It weighs 488gms and uses three channels, having elevons and throttle but no rudder. Nick has fitted the suggested 2200kv motor and 40A speed controller but is flying it with a 2200mAh 3 cell lipo battery as he doesn’t have any 3 cell 3000mAh packs.
I would imagine you’d get a really long flight time with a 3000mAh pack so the 2200’s should be fine. Nick says the test flight was ok but the model was a little tail heavy, presumably because he used a smaller battery, but that should be easily sorted for the next outing. Unfortunately nobody shot any video of the flight but I’ll hopefully get some for next month’s Patch News. Kryten took all of the above photos of Nick’s model both on the ground and in the air and I have to say it looks very Blackbird’ish, I like it a lot.
Nick’s second new model is a Sea Vixen that he built using Dwayne Pipe’s templates but instead of using Hobbycraft foamboard Nick has built his from Depron.
The Sea Vixen weighs 354gms, I wonder how that compares with the foamboard ones. Nick is using the same 2200kv motor as in the Blackbird but for the test flight he used a 1000mAh 3 cell lipo and found that the voltage sagged just a few seconds into the flight. Apparently the 1000mAh packs are now 5 years old and obviously past their best so next time out Nick is intending to use some new 1300 or 1350mAh packs. I may be wrong but I think some of the other club members are using 2200mAh packs in their Sea Vixens so that might be worth trying although maybe it would be difficult to obtain the correct centre of gravity. Again, I don’t have any video but Kryten took some excellent photos.
Dougal Entendre had lucky moment early in the month, it turned out alright but could have been very different. I’ll let Dougal explain what happened: I hadn’t flown the Ghost Rider for at least a couple of months, and before I flew it I said that the gremlins had had plenty of time to get to work on it, so I checked it over carefully before flying. All went well on the first flight until right near the end, when I noticed a sudden change in aileron trim. On landing I found that the left aileron was stuck with several degrees of up deflection due to servo failure in that wing. I still had two batteries to use up, so remembering how some pylon racers are designed to have only one aileron, I disconnected the failed servo and taped the left aileron in the neutral position.
The subsequent flights both went OK, though as expected, aileron sensitivity was reduced. Surprisingly though, the roll rate was much faster to the right than to the left.
I would have expected it to roll faster to the left as the one working aileron went down into the higher pressure area below the wing. Checking the radio showed there was no aileron differential programmed in. The control horns are on the underneath of each aileron, and are set back from the leading edge, so they do give some differential (more up than down) at large deflections. I think the main reason for the faster roll to the right is due to the top hinge though. There’s quite a large gap on the lower surface, and a sealed tape hinge on the top, so an upgoing aileron probably disrupts the airflow more than when it has the same downward deflection. That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it!
Captain Slow finally brought his long awaited Wots Wot Foam-E up to the patch for its’ first flight in September. I forget when he bought it but it seems to have been quite a long time ago. But never mind it’s not good to rush these things. The Wots Wot is a foam biplane with wingspan of 1000mm and it comes with the motor, speed controller, and four 9gms servos already fitted. The motor is a 920kv outrunner connected to a 40A esc which swings a 12×6 propeller when powered by a 3 cell 2200mAh lipo battery.
Here’s what the Ripmax website says about it: The Wots Wot Foam-E makes for a perfect all round sports foam aircraft. The Wots Wot Foam-E combines the slow speed characteristics of the Wot4 Foam-E and the precision and ‘locked in feel’ of the Acrowot Foam-E. The Wots Wot Foam-E has been specifically designed to suit a popular 3S 2200mAh Li-Po battery resulting in a model that will fit in a hatchback car boot fully assembled! For a little more flight time, try the Hi-Energy 2700mAh pack instead. Using the latest in foam moulding technology you will notice the edges are very crisp and sharp without the weight penalty of a denser foam. The control surfaces use ‘live’ style moulded foam hinges but they also have plastic hinges moulded into the foam for extra security. Assembly is easy and requires only a cross head screwdriver. It’s so quick it takes longer to fit the decals than to assemble the airframe! In the air biplanes are associated with slow scale flight but not the Wots Wot, thanks to four large ailerons the roll rate is fast and authoritative and the short moment of the design gives great elevator and rudder power. The Wots Wot really excels during slow speed flight and can be really docile with low rates on. Up the rates and open the throttle for flicks, spins and knife edge loops. The stall is benign and thanks to the biplane layout it really slows down nicely for landing.
Captain Slow aborted the first take-off because just as the model lifted off there was a horribly loud vibration noise. Although he’d run up the motor previously he hadn’t reached full throttle and upon investigation Captain Slow found the motor mount was very loose, hence the vibration. After a few minutes work with a screwdriver all was well so he tried again and this time the Wots Wot took to the skies with no further problems. Captain Slow tells me that he ran out of elevator travel on the first landing and he needs to increase the expo on the ailerons but otherwise all was good. I think he’s going to enjoy this model. A couple of years ago I did the test flight of Chris P Bacon’s identical Wots Wot and was really taken with the biplane, it felt solid and totally under control right from the start. Oddly I never really felt comfortable with his larger 50” wingspan balsa and ply Wots Wot on 5 cells. You can see Captain Slow’s first flight and second landing in this month’s video.
Last month I reported on the first flight of the beautiful Lancaster built by Percy Vears. Sadly it suffered with extreme glitching and crashed but Percy has provided an update on the repairs and a fix for the glitching: I’ve completed all of the repairs – just some minor cosmetic items like redoing some of the panel lines. I’ve also taken advantage of making one or two minor improvements whilst doing the repair. The problem that caused the glitch and subsequent crash was caused by the 5A UBEC – no obvious reason for that! I tried replacing the UBEC with a 2s lipo and the system worked perfectly. I also tried using the 3A BEC of a spare ESC – again no problem, so came to the conclusion it must be the 5A UBEC responsible. Rather than replacing it with another 5A UBEC (which tend to be expensive!), I’m using two 3A UBECs – one to supply the receiver and servos, and the other to supply the retracts. All systems now function correctly.
Well done Percy, I look forward to the next flight which I sure will be trouble free.
Video time now, this month with footage recorded by Dougal, and Peter Fothergill. 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-111 fighter was flying as an escort to a B-52 bomber and generally making a nuisance of himself by flying loops and rolls all around the lumbering old bomber.
The pilot radioed over to the B-52 crew “Anything you can do, I can do better.”
Not to be outdone, the B-52 pilot replied that he would accept the challenge.
But the bomber simply continued on with its flight, flying straight and level as before.
Perplexed, the fighter pilot asked “So? What did you do, I didn’t see anything?”
“We just shut down two engines.”