Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Old dog and new tricks?

As a result of a conversation with Peter Gunning I offered to retrofit Peter’s recently acquired Freestyler 3 with the Servorahmen drive system and fit the model out with KST High Voltage servos. These servo mounts and control mechanisms are very robust and slop-free when installed.

Getting the existing RDS out was straightforward and just needed careful pulling out with pliers taking care not to overdo it! Getting the large horns and pushrods installed required a deal of cogitation but the end result is superb. The scariest operation was Dremelling the control surfaces to fit the substantial horns without damaging the wing skins. A steady hand and eye are required. The pictures show various stages of the installation.

This picture shows the whole servorahmen assembly from one of Peter's previous installations.

Test fit of servo in mount. This allows access to the servo retaining screws but not to the pushrod/servo arm.

Control surface horn in place. Getting the horn/pushrod assembly in place was a bit of a faff because the whole assembly is quite big and there isn't a lot of space. Glass tape to try to protect wing from any wayward Dremel cutting disc!

Servo mount epoxied in place. Note the two 3mm holes for access to servo release screws. Masking tape to protect wing skins. Servo connected to aluminium pushrod but not epoxied yet.

High Voltage KST servos in fuselage and time to hand back to Peter for final installation. The KST servos are smaller than the ones they replaced so a ply adaptor plate was made up and epoxied in place. Note the 1mm glass board raising the servo height and reinforcing the servo plate.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Winter blues Dodd Hill 31 Jan

A break in the incessant rain and storm force winds tempted me to go out flying for the first time in ages. After the snow on Saturday and looking over at the Fife and Sidlaw hills I could see they were quite white and past experience has seen me struggle to drive up the access roads so I charged up my Weasel Evo and Reaper and headed for Carrot/Dodd Hill. I still had trouble getting along the snow covered access roads. My house is around 50m and Carrot Hill is about 250 and the difference that 200m metres made to the amount of snow on the ground was dramatic. Nothing at home but around 2 inches of snow cover at Carrot Hill.
Winter wonderland
The lift was very light and I should have taken my DLG but my Weasel Evo went well. The lift on this hill is never great but at least I got a couple of hours flying in before the wind died to almost nothing. Nice to get out for a fly even if it was only a foamie. 
Weasel Evo scoots along the slope
Early on I thought there might be enough lift to fly my heavy Reaper. There wasn’t! Retrieving the model from the middle of a thick patch of gorse on the quarry face was a painful and unpleasant experience! I lost my footing at one point and ended up sitting on my bottom on the steep slope under the gorse (and held down by it) and unable to get up again. Tx in one hand and Reaper in the other!! 

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Splash Down!!

The blog has been very quiet lately because I haven't been flying and I had nothing to add! The weather for at least the last 5 weeks has been awful apart from the very occational day when it was flyable and I couldn't make it. Typical! We have had winter storm followed by winter storm cycling through constantly. Rubbish!!

28 Dec 2016

I had been getting more and more stir crazy over the Festive Break and when I spotted a good south east wind was blowing I took my Reaper foamie along to East Haven aka McTurbulator. 

Reaper ready for launch
It was blowing about 30mph straight onto the low slope but being a proper foamie racer it went much better than my lightweight Weasel Evo which I flew there last time. You do have to keep in the narrow lift band but the speed builds very nicely if an EM pattern is followed.

I amused a skeptical couple walking their dogs when I first tried to launch and flew the model straight into the ground several times before I twigged the elevator trim was reversed. Muppet!

I then discovered that flying wings won't fly when a servo fails. I didn’t know what was wrong at first and struggled to keep the model level but with only aileron and elevator on one wing the result is inevitable. I should have tried letting it hit the beach but instinct had me fighting it until it splashed down in the North Sea about 10 metres from the shore. However it bobbed back up and proved that foamies float quite nicely! By the time I clambered down to the beach the strong wind and waves had driven my poor Reaper onto the shore and it was fairly easily retrieved. Glad I had SealSkinz socks on thought! 

I glanced up at my dog walker audience but they were walking off and I'm sure I heard the sound of satisfied chortling!

Burnt-out circuit board and melted case. The gears in this servo were VERY stiff compared to the one in the other wing and I suspect this was the problem.

After a couple of days drying the model out the offending servo together with its matching pal in the other wing were replaced with a pair of HS85MGs. Ready to fly again if this weather ever improves.

Monday, 9 November 2015

McTurbulator? Sunday 8 November.

The blog hasn’t been updated because I hadn’t seen much of interest other than competitions which are reported elsewhere. (Slopeglide was an eye-opener and showed how vital pumping is on East Lomond)

Saturday was a washout for me with rain all day and the forecast for Sunday was rain returning mid-morning. I didn’t fancy my chances of getting flying on any of our usual slopes in the predicted south-east wind and the two slopes I had in mind (Lundie Craigs or Dunnichen Hill) mean a bit of a drive and a walk which would have wasted time getting to the slope before the rain arrived.

I have flown from the beach at East Haven (15 min drive from my house) before and it was never great but I took my Weasel Evo out for an airing and flew it for a while in the 25 mph bumpy/patchy lift from the beach/dune edge not far from the car park. Like before it wasn’t too great but flyable. Despite the forecast the weather looked quite settled so I headed out along the coastal path to a section of the beach which the OS map suggested the edge was a bit higher. Only about a mile walk along the good path to the point where the main path carries on parallel to the railway and a roughish path splits away to the right to follow the dune edge and I got to a section which is about 20 feet above the sand.
Weasel Evo over the beach
There was more lift there but my Evo was still finding the lift patchy and variable. I flew around for a while and had a couple of landings which were a bit hairy. Nasty rotor back from the edge. I had several flights and was thinking it was a bit disappointing so started messing around swooping and diving along the edge when I had a revelation. My Weasel Evo is too light to pump very well but something was going on. If I tried following the same kind of flight-path I have seen on some of the Rugen videos it all smoothed out. My conclusions are:-
  •          The lift band is narrow. Too far out and the model heads for the beach and retrieving from the beach is no fun. How do I know?
  •          Too far back over the edge of the path there is only compression and no lift and you are “landing”! Ooops!
  •          Stay in the sweet spot along the edge and swoop up at each end into a tight EM style turn and back along the edge and it works well!   
Weasel Evo about as far out as the good lift extends. Closer in is better but taking a picture without burying my poor Evo on the edge would be challenge

Weasel having a rest
I so wished I had taken my Odyssey or Reaper foamies. An F3F model would be brilliant but landing would the problem. Behind the path the land drops gently to a fenced field (with stiles though) but the rotor seems bad there but may be okay farther back. Beyond the field (75 metres?) is the path and the railway line and beyond that the water treatment works/golf course. I intend taking my old Spark F3F next time there is a good South Easterly and I’m sure if there is enough wind you could kite the model down onto the path with careful use of the brakes and lift/compression on the path edge. Catch it? Or maybe land on the sand on the beach?

There is a better looking slope a little farther along which would suit an East-South-East wind and a wider beach area for landing but was too crossed for me to try on Sunday.
Another 1/4 mile farther east. Slope would suit East-South-East.
I got back to the car just as the rain arrived which put paid to my plans to come back with my Odyssey after lunch.

Monday, 14 September 2015

South wind on East Lomond. Sunday 13 Sept 15

A southerly wind direction is a bit awkward for my local hills but the shoulder of East Lomond (just off the path and before the fence) can be good. When I arrived the wind was blowing about 10mph and was working ok. After a while I convinced myself I would be better on top of the hill and relocated myself and my kit up to the top of the hill but well to the east of the usual flying area.

Half an hour later and after much wandering about on the edge of the slope flying my Cyril on imaginary F3F courses I was back down where I first started!

The wind remained light but the Cyril was carrying 500g of brass well and I had fun when thermals blew through. Yippee!

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

BARCS F3F league reserve. Hawes 6 September

Easy access to a slope with great potential was a treat.

Long walk to the launch point!
Peter had a fairly fraught start to the day when he spotted an issue with his tx. All his models had a big dollop of down trim which shouldn’t have been there. The consensus seemed to be there was a problem with the potentiometer having moved position. Fortunately I have the same transmitter and Peter was able to take the sd card out of his tx and load his models onto my tranny. Peter was flying first and it was all a bit of a rush so he was not exactly relaxed as he launched for the start of the first round.

Watching Peter flying it looked at first as if he was flying really long but it was in fact the timing gear which didn’t actually beep when the button was pressed for about a third of a second! Three rounds were flown like this and it was a bit of a mess. The trick was to really anticipate the turn and hope for the best. Fortunately after round three some frantic fiddling with the timing gear sorted it out.

Peter gives Mike's Precision the heave-ho
We flew plenty of rounds and it may have been better to discard the first three. That would also have eliminated my zero score in round three when Martin’s massive launch of my Precision saw the tape holding the nose sheath on fail and said sheath headed off down the slope and I was left with no option but to land for nil point!

Ewan awaits his shottie

They are multiplying! 

Another great day in Yorkshire. 

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Scottish Slope Nationals 29-30 August

I had been looking forward the Scottish National Championships for months and the weekend didn’t disappoint despite the small turnout. Unfortunately the small turnout meant that foamie racing was never going to be a feasible option. 

My new McOdyssey did get an airing on Saturday when Peter called for some practice flying before we setup the F3F course for an impromptu race/practice session.  The McOdyssey went well in the 25mph+ winds. Ewan gave his refurbished Gulp an airing and John Treble also brought along a Gulp and some stick time with it both days. John was feeling a bit under the weather and decided to take a back seat for the weekend. Also not flying was Dave Watson who came along for some fresh air although unfortunately Dave wasn’t flying although his “chauffeur” Robert Carson was able give his Fosa some stick time until a technical issue put a stop to Robert flying for the rest of the day.

Ewan and his Gulp
Despite the forecast for a dry day we had to endure a heavy downpour (Sportsbrellas were left in cars or at home where they were of little use)

Enduring the downpour. Dave and Robert are under the plastic sheet in the foreground!
Rain over, lets get flying
The results of the practice F3F were
1 Peter Gunning
2 George Young
3 Mark Redsell
4 Mark Treble
5 Ewan Maxwell
Me runner up? Could I repeat that on Sunday to equal my Nats result last year? In a word. NO!

I did have a good day on Sunday but my flying in the early rounds was shocking. I flew my Precision to start with before switching to my Stinger and then back to my Precision. I got a little distracted when I saw how sloppy the right flap on my Precision has become but after a careful inspection on the hillside I decided it was sound but sloppy! The issue is wear with the RDS pocket in the flap. Ripping out the RDS might be the only option but this is a big job not helped by the servo being built-in under the wing-skin. What was Samba thinking?  Once I settled down back flying my Precision my times dropped but even with two discards my slow times kept me well down the field.

Mark lands his Jazz
Mark and his Toxic

Ewan's Jedi gets a proper launch
Mike's Precision gets away
Ian and his trusty warhorse Tragi.
A great but tiring day after 17 rounds. Trudging around on the long grass on the hillside meant walking with a “heather-lowp” which really made my thigh muscles ache by the end of the day.