Friday 10 February 2023

The more things change, the more they stay the same

Well, about 8 months since my last post, and there's so much to write about.

Over the Covid lockdowns I looked more seriously at buying a second hand in NW Wales, for holidays and maybe some rental income.  The houses I ended up looking at became more expensive, and the dear Wifey said that I'd need a job up there to afford them instead. Hmmm...15 minutes later in Google, and I'd found one worth applying for.  

To my amazement I was asked to do a first interview very quickly over Zoom, then invited in for the second interview on site where I was offered the job as I went to leave.  They must have been desperate!  I of course accepted, and the rest is (recent) history - a hectic 3 months later we moved to the Lleyn Peninsula, right next to amazing slopes and a fantastic flat field club on my doorstep.  

The change in industry and product has done wonders for my mental health, and we're starting to feel more settled each week.  The workshop shed was erected 4 weeks after moving in, but has only recently been cleared enough of moving boxes and other "stuff" to allow me to build a bit.

The 3D printing business is still going flat out too, so it's a fine balance at the moment between keeping customers happy and getting to aeromodel, but I'm getting there.

I recently bought back my SBD that I missed quite a bit (seller's regret is terrible!), and picked up a 3rd hand JP to fill that little space left by the selling of my mass build one many years ago.

At the moment I'm concentrating on getting those few repairs that I've had hanging around for a couple of years sorted out before getting back into the B24 build, which I'd like to finish for the PSSA's May meet.  This includes the Spitfire (fus repairs, flap addition, paint), the Panther (new nose, wing retention re-work), the Sea Hawk (awaiting paint after repair) and the Stuka (re-work wheel retention system, wire up for multi-plug separation).

I've also 3D printed a couple of PSS machines, but more to come on that front.

Tuesday 14 June 2022

C17 Globemaster III @ 1/15th scale - for PSS

Last week Bob and I saw that there was an upcoming big SW wind, so a plan was hatched to get to the Orme as early as possible to get two maidens done. I got up at 5am and made the 3 hour trip with a car full of C17, to be greeted by a 55mph SW on the top of the rock. Wow! If she doesn't fly in this, she is definitely going in the bin.

All rigged and ready (extra insulating tape to hold the engines on!), the hardy lads we'd corralled into meeting us there lofted the airframe above their heads, and gave her the heave-ho. The first launch showed some tail-heavy attributes, but nothing that couldn't be handled on trim, thankfully. A slight runaway in the dive, but not something that made me panic too much - I didn't even make any changes for the second flight.

All in all, I'm very happy with her. Quite manoeuvrable, not too fast, fairly easy to land even without touching the throttle stick for the huge flaps. I did give the flaps a go on the front side and she slowed up very quickly without too much pitching - at least they're there if I need them!

The second flight was cut a bit short due to the backup receiver losing signal.  I still have no idea why this was, and can only assume it's something to do with the "beta" pre-release RB30 redundancy bus I was using.  I really wanted the RB in there to keep an eye on the flap servo current as it has that feature built-in, but I have since found smaller servo-current sensors made by FRSky that I can daisy chain off the telemetry ports instead.  I'll lose the battery backup feature, but by adding two separate receivers, I can mitigate that risk through them using different batteries and cross-controlling the aircraft for redundancy.

All photos courtesy of Phil Cooke - many thanks Phil for capturing these great moments.

Some specs;
  • Based on ZZ176 based at Brize Norton when she wore her anniversary tail art.  
  • 32lbs AUW
  • 8 servos (2 ailerons, 2 flaps, 2 rudders, 2 elevators) all high voltage.
  • 2x 2 cell 4000mAh LiFe batteries, 
  • FRSky RB30 redundancy bus (for now...)
  • FRsky R8Pro & R9X receivers (2.4ghz and 900mhz links)
  • FRsky X20S transmitter
  • Flytron LED landing lights and strobing beacon (fantastically bright!)
Construction is foam veneered wings, then glassed.  Fuselage is white foam rear, built-up centre around the spar box, foam nose.  Fus foam parts then brown-papered and glassed.  ABS vac formed engine nacelles.  Everything sprayed in 2K high build primer, then 2K matt battleship grey.  Decals from Callie Graphics and Dave's Decals.

Thursday 28 April 2022

PSS Related magazine scans

 I was browsing eBay, as one does, and came across this magazine that I recognised as one of the issues that had some PSS content, so I quickly purchased it and it arrived today.

So without further ado, here are scans of the relevant parts from March 2002's issue of Q&EFI;

I've just noticed that they've not scanned at a particularly high resolution, so all images here in a shared folder : LINK

He looks so young....!

Thursday 31 March 2022

Rosenthal Salto - 1/3 scale

 As a long-time fan of the Salto, I've wanted a big model to do it justice.  My smaller 6th scale one is a great flier, but...bigger is always better!

I found this on the Facebook marketplace, and pulled the trigger.  A Rosenthal Salto fuselage, with DIY blue foam / spar / carbon skins / obechi wings.

I think she'll be just lovely at this size, and barring any accidents from PSSA events, this is next on the build bench in April.  Not too much to do, other than freeing up the (scale) airbrakes, glassing the wings and tails, rubbing down the seam on the fus, and throw some paint at it.

PSSA 48 hour build - Cirrus Vision Jet

 The PSSA hosted a 48 hour build challenge earlier this year, which was also meant to be from one sheet of foam (plus a sheet of balsa for other bits).

I chose to build a Cirrus Vision jet, as I've always fancied building one for PSS ever since I saw one on the internet.

The foam wings were cut by Shona and myself, the fuselage I then roughly hacked and shaped, then sanded, then glassed to it's current state.  This was the 48 hours' worth of work, and I've not touched it since unfortunately - the C17 taking priority for April..

Own design Boeing C17 Globemaster III for PSS - near disaster

The C17 eventually got to the slopes in 2021, but it wasn't the best outcome unfortunately. All rigged and ready for launch, the chucking crew lifted her and started to walk to the slope's edge, whereupon it was spotted that one of the flaps had dropped. Hmmmm, odd.

Putting the airframe on the grass, it was obvious something was awry as smoke was pouring out of the top hatches. Oh dear. To prevent an out and out burn-up on the slope-side, I quickly tore off the hatch and ripped the batteries out. The rain had started to come in at this point (another lovely Welsh summer) so I quickly de-rigged it and shoved it into the van, feeling rather let down after 5 years of build and endless hours of setup at home.

The post-mortem at home showed that the bottom of one of the Savox flap servos was quite severely melted, and also the loom had cooked up badly. The servo was either faulty or was somehow out of position trying to pull the flaps shut and pulled too much current in it's stalled state. To top it off, the brand new 10 channel redundancy receiver had melted solder from the battery input terminals blobbed everywhere inside, and was also a write off. Great.  

The airframe was kicked into the bottom shed, servos removed, waiting for the early spring bonfires.

Fast forward 6 months, and I've stopped sulking a bit, and Simon Cocker talked me round into getting her airworthy again.  This time I'm using a redundancy bus to monitor flap servo current on the TX, and it also has resettable fuses if anything pulls too much current on each channel.  The servos are back in, and the engine and wing attachment method has been improved greatly, meaning I should get less angry putting it together.  

So now everything is set and ready to go at the 2022 April PSSA meet - we shall see what happens!

BT Hawker Typhoon for PSS - late updates

 Well it has been a long while since I've posted here, and as always there's lots to write about.

The BT Tiffie has had 3 or 4 flights with me now and it's added rudder - I'm happy to report that she is a great flier and the added weight was of no consequence to her abilities.

Thanks to Phil Cooke from the PSSA for these photos of her flying at the October 2021 PSSA meet on the Great Orme;

As she didn't come with any rockets when I bought her, I've printed and painted two 250lb bombs that mate into the existing release mechanisms.  Bombs away!

Tuesday 3 August 2021

Brian Taylor Hawker Typhoon, modified for PSS - improvements and mods

 The little Tiffie is very nearly finished now, I just have some new cannons to fit the dowels to for mounting, and we're all done.  I've been having great success printing PETG recently, so I've done the guns in that.  They seem very strong compared to PLA parts, so I'll keep a printer set up specifically for PETG from now on I think.

OK, to the photos then.

Rudder now hinged and epoxied in place, dark sea grey sprayed on;

Green next;

A quick bit of weathering.  Some silver to pick out around the hinges, then a light brushing of a light brown pigment powder across the top of the rib tapes;

Finally sealed off with matt lacquer;

I decided to make a storage / transport caddy for her out of blue foam - nearly as heavy as the fuselage!

With a removable top spine to protect the sensitive bits;

A little bit of bomb graffiti.  The release servo is now wired in and programmed up;

Other jobs include a printed RX mount; replaced the on/off switch with a newer HD item; tidied up the wiring as much as possible.

So that's pretty much it.  I hope to get some "beauty" shots before the weekend's event, if not I shall get some done whilst there.  I don't think my mods have added much weight, and I can actually see how to save a good few grams due to some balancing lead being in the battery box, where it could be reduced and added to the lead in the spinner.

That's all for now, keep on Tiffing.

Friday 30 July 2021

Another Typhoon for PSS, and other flying.

 Well, the PSSA events have been coming thick and fast, and it doesn't slow down until after September - which is great!  Or at least great for flying and meeting up with the guys, but workshop time is at a minimum as planes are prepped, repairs are made, and maintenance carried out.  Ah well - there could be worse problems I suppose!

The Lleyn MAC PSSA meet was a great success again, with plenty of flying taking place over both event days, and lots more over my extended stay in the area.  The Meteor had another flight, which Phil Cooke managed to capture very nicely;

This little balsa Tempest that I'd bought from another member got lots of airtime too, such a stable model to fly in most wind conditions;

The little Tempest was again flown a lot at the recent Bwlch SWSA PSSA meet, along with a new addition.  Yes another model. Yes another Typhoon. No I don't care, as this one is slightly special.  

Originally a John Plumbley build from the Brian Taylor plan, modified for the slope with a glider wing section and different nose box, this aircraft is of museum quality.

I had a great first flight with her, but she does need some attention in her old age.  A few different owners and many years have taken it's toll in the airframe, so first up was a paint match for some wing repairs that I had actually undertaken for the previous owner.

Next up was a rudder.  The current rudder was in a sorry state with cellotape repairs and it was hanging off of it's double sided tape mounting (!).  I don't like to fly draggy warbirds without a rudder, so on with the conversion!

Rudder stripped, front face rounded, hinge blocks added, horn block added :

Green solartex'ed, thin masking added to simulate rib tape;

Primed, ready for final paint;

I've also got the guns to fit (new ones printed), and bombs to fit the drop mechanism (nearly all printed), so she's coming along nicely. I've also got the complete lighting system working on her, which I've never seen operating before!


Tuesday 25 May 2021

New transmitter time - FRSky X20S


What a lovely unit!  Much lighter and more comfortable in the hands than the X12S, and with an all-new OS called EthOS, FRSky have gotten everything right with this I feel.

I flew a couple of smaller models with it at the weekend's PSSA meet, and everything worked as expected.  I think I'll be programming some of the larger fleet into this one shortly, as the new Tandem receiver line and the more recent ACCESS receivers are very capable and make the most out of the radio's capabilities.

Only thing missing at the moment that I really want is a a tray adaptor, so I can secure it to my harness.  I find the stability the harness provides a game changer, especially for a solo slope pilot when launching.