Tuesday, 27 September 2016

MB339 and EE Lightning maidens

I've been away in the van climbing mountains and walking around lakes for the past 8 days, but I managed to mix in a little bit of an Orme visit in the middle of it all.  PSSA regular Steve Howarth contacted me one night to ask if I was about on the very morning I was planning on going up, with the request of some help on the slope with a couple of models.

I flew the Carbon Mini Blade for a good few hours meeting some local fliers, and awaited Steve to finish work.  His Aermacchi MB339 is one of the original kits produced by Ray Jones more than 20 years ago, and had been flown a long time by Steve until a bad crash required some re-manufacture of the fuselage.  The resultant weight increase gave Steve some worries with the maiden, but she did look resplendent in her new colour scheme.

Anyway, I tossed her off the edge after range and control sanity checks, and she grooved away well in the 25mph SW we were flying in, her 7lb weight easily carried by the large wing area.

The Lightning (again, ex Ray Jones from the Flair kit) was prepared, and a dodgy battery was swapped out after a range check.  This thing is light!  Unfortunately I failed to get flying shots as I was busy helping out Rocket Ron with launching his PSS DH Swallow, and Steve landed after a quick flight check as the Lightning wasn't penetrating so well.  Anyway, two nice new planes to look out for at the last official PSSA event in October.

Friday, 16 September 2016

A10 retires, and other projects.

So, with one official PSS event left for the year, I've decided to retire the A10 pending her winter overhaul and refit.

I'll stick her onto building board "B" as a side project, whilst the C17 and Hawker Seahawk get the most attention on building board "A".

Her updates should include :
  • weak link for nose retention tensioner
  • all servos stripped out and mountings / arms / horns checked
  • replacement of both tensioners (this should save me about a pound and a half from the AUW!)
  • Overall sand down and respray
  • New and additional decals
  • More details parts
  • Potentially moving elevator servos from the tailplane to the radio bay (should save about 2lb in nose weight)
  • Re-hinge flaps, to include movable wipers (instead of current fixed versions)
  • Add more cockpit detail
  • Investigate suspension system for landing wheels (reduces shock to anti-rotation pins)
  • Investigate lighting system (all the channels are already there, I need to chase in wiring and a controller)
  • Investigate addition of a second receiver for safety (plus two more batteries)
  • A proper lacquer coat
  • And before all of this a few minor repairs from the last landing and transportation cycle.
So plenty to do there, even for an aircraft that's only actually had 4 flights.  Alas, it is a great big learning curve using a big model like this on the slope, not to mention I've forged the way with the prototype, sorting all the niggles for the other two builders!

The C17 should start to build momentum again now, and the Seahawk needs some planking before glassing.  I can carry some of the learning from the A10 into the C17 of course, which should give her an easier life from the outset.

But for now, I'm enjoying my rest from the workshop.  I haven't opened the door in about a week, other than to throw all the models in when we got back on Monday, and won't be in there for at least another 8 days as we are off touring in the van for a while.  Bliss!

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

PSSA at the Great Orme - September 2016

We arrived on the rock late Friday night, and stayed over on the top in the camper van in very blustery conditions, with a fair amount of rain too.  By about 2.30a.m. the wind and rain had stopped, so we slept soundly until day break.

There was a 6mph WSW at 7am when walking the dogs, so I thought we were in for a good days' flying with such a reasonable start.  Unfortunately, the wind dropped further, and moved around to WNW, but by lunch time had come up to 10mph or so.  Easy pickings for my Pike WR, which was specking out in the slope and thermal lift coming off the sea.  This soon got boring though, so some long dog walks ensued.

As usual though, the Orme has the last laugh and by 6pm a decent 16mph SW was coming straight into the main bowl.  Result!  This allowed some fantastic PSS'ing to take place over the sea with the sunset producing a lovely golden light to illuminate our models.  I had a great session then with the Hawk, Horten, and the big Vulcan - photos to follow for that bit!

The next day, the wind was right up early in the morning but around the WSW mark again.  Some people scratched around a bit in the SW bowl, but Pete Garsden and I set off over to the bigger WSW slope and bowl, about an 8 minute hike from the main car park.  We couldn't believe our luck, as the wind here was 22mph gusting 30, with near limitless, smooth lift.  The Hawk needed a fair amount of down trim in to stay in sight, and PEte had a blast with his Vulcan and new A4.

Soon, we were joined by a flock of fliers as they could see the huge vertical pumps we were managing, and the skies filled with all sorts of gliders, but mainly A4's getting their maidens.

I even managed to get the Flanker away quite well, although she needs a bit of the noseweight removing I think, as she didn't really get "in the groove" and a dive test soon resulted in her soaring up for the clouds!  

So what else..ah yes - the A10 :D  Her 4th flight and probably the longest as well, as she was launched from the SW bowl and I walked up to the WSW whilst flying her.  Yes, cross-country with a 38lb A10 - lovely :)

Great fun!  She even survived a mid-air with a little EPP Vulcan, which she brushed aside whilst the poor Avro spun in, in bits, to terra firma.  Oops!  Sorry Tom.  My landing was less then stellar, probably ranking 3rd out of all 4 I have done.  Minor damage but annoying nonetheless as I deployed the brakes a bit too soon on finals.

The SHM Vulcan continues to perform very well, and always gets admirers due to her faithful shape reproduction and sheer size.

4 lovely landings with this one - she just greases in gently.  All in all a great weekend with lots of A4's on the slope, with not too much carnage.  I didn't get around to flying mine properly, though I may just strip the servos from her and hang it form the ceiling in the workshop.

We'll have to see how October goes, I'm not 100% we will be going due to other commitments, but that was great weather and great aircraft flown with a load of great guys!

Thursday, 8 September 2016

L39 progress - completion is nigh!

I worked on the Albatrosses last night too, and they are pretty much done now.  All I have left to do is the magnets in the wing tip tanks. Happy days!

Hopefully Phil and Warren will be able to maiden theirs at the weekend's PSSA meet.  We are expecting some very good weather for Sunday in the MONSTER south bowl, which is always a pleasure to fly horizon-to-horizon.  Saturday looks a little lighter, but certainly good enough for the Vulcan and perhaps an XA4D maiden.

Monday is more of the same, so I'm looking forward to getting more airtime hours on the Hog :)

Micro PSS - X4AD complete

I finished this little monster up last night at about midnight, in between bits of Albatross work.

I've built her from a Jetex plan that I found on Outerzone - a great resource for plan builders.  The shape of the XA4D was a little different from the production variants, being a prototype and all, and I quite like the polished alloy effect.

Maiden on Saturday hopefully!

Monday, 5 September 2016

Workshop slavery, and PSSA @ the Great Orme September 2016

It's nice to come to work for a break!

Since Friday afternoon, I have put in about 25 hours in the workshop, readying aircraft.  Mostly it has been Albatross number 2 and 3, but also thrown into that a little fleet maintenance, workshop tidying, and work on my "project X" that is soon to be revealed.

The L59's are quite far along, with just some cockpit fitment to go.  After that the white one is to have a camo job in "similar to my Hog", and the silver one will receive a bit of red vinyl to look like a Czech machine.  Lots done and lots to go - I just hope there's enough hours in the day!

Speaking of Hogs, mine has had a little fettling, mostly with decals and paintwork.  It's my intention to get the rear fuselage white patches resprayed before the weekend, as they have gone a little yellow over time.  Only on that section though, which is strange.

And so, onto the weekend's PSSA flying.  So far (touch wood) the wind looks great, and we should see something in the region of 50-60mph on the edge.  That'll frighten all those new A4's, I'm sure!  There looks to be some rain blowing through on both days, but with some luck, we'll fly in between them.  I am again extending my stay to Monday too, which yet again looks like the best day.  Weird that?!