Tuesday, 30 May 2023

What a day!


  After another week of NE winds made our usual slopes less fun, the call of the Wrecker meant that for a second weekend in a row I found myself on the Motorway heading into Wales. This time I was greeted by William setting up his automatic F3F course for a little bit of practise and within an hour our numbers had swollen into double figures.  Bright sunshine tempered by the 25mph+ winds.

  The day was by no means an exclusively expensive toy F3F session, A good few of us had brought something different to fly- it was all going to go on a day like this.

  The model's ranged from Les's 2m Screamer, thought the Needle 100 and my own Falcon 100 to some bigger F3F models.  I did take my Saker but as usual I ended up only flying the first model out of the car.  The air did cycle through, alternating between good to 'hold on'.  It wasn't a great surprise when Andy B told me that he had started filming my Falcon just as the air dropped off, he was heading back from landing on my last flight as the air got ridiculous and the Falcon's speed kept building and building.

  It was good to see the Screamer model, I've not see this one in the flesh before and it can certainly go, at just 2m it's a little small for my own taste but t put a big smile on Les's face.

  A couple of blasts from the past were the Needle 100 and Mike Evan's Alliaj- not the most attractive but Mike had the wings bending some in the turns at times.

  After JP had flown his Fox it was time for him to bring out his Saker.  I know that he had been looking forward to really testing those wings for a while and as he added 1.6KG of ballast I knew that he wasn't going to hold back!  For the second weekend in a row I got to sit back and admire a model of mine taring up the sky and really being put through it's paces.

  EM, reversals Philips specials the Saker just seemed to keep on flying though them all and keep on getting faster.  Whilst part of my was a bit gutted that it's clearly my thumbs holding back the Saker, knowing that it can more than keep up with the rest of the racing field is fantastic.

  The Vantage was also a model which stood out, flown by Les and Andy, both showed the benefit of consistently flying the same model.

A fantastic day out in the sun!

Monday, 22 May 2023

EM turns on the wrecker.

  Sunshine and NE winds can only mean one thing- a trip to the fabled Wrecker.  I have always had mixed feelings about the slope, clearly epic lift but the long walk to land has often caught me out.  This dislike of the walk s actually one of the reasons I try to go sometimes, to try and get over this.

  After flying the Falcon with a Cheshire grin on the edge, I managed to tear myself away from the Falcon and rig the Saker.  Although the wind speed of 10mps would usually have me looking to put 800-1000g of ballast in, I tempered back due to the large variation in the lift.  When the lift came in I know that she will go!

  I gave the Saker to the Dark lord Greg Dakin to stir the sticks and let me know just what she can do and how much I am holding back the Saker.  She was soon doing huge pumps with some excellent energy retention and then ripping up the edge with some speed building EM turns that looked like an effortless high speed figure of 8.

  Greg does like his loops and it wasn't long before he was DSing the edge, with the speed climbing with every loop.  After taking the Sticks I attempted to follow Greg's EM turning style.  It was just easy, only my own aggression diving into the compression after each turn prevented me from going faster (honest).  The Saker felt like it wasn't going to over pull/scrub speed in the turns, as long as possitive reasure was kept on the wing, the faster we went.

  After landing safely each time I put my models away with a huge smile.

  I have to give a word to the Raptors that Greg was flying.  A 2.4m thin winged aerobatic smile maker.  Most certainly the best model I have seen in this class for a long time.

Monday, 15 May 2023

A trip to the Mynd, but no wind

  Dad'd taxi being directed to the midlands  usually gives me the chance flr some soaring on the Mynd in Shorpshire.  Conditions here remind me of Whitesheet, with the variability of lift making it a great sport fly spot.  Unfortunately this weekend there was so little breeze that the wind direction was swinging 180deg at times as the thermals drifted through.

  Room in the car meant I took the Falcon rather than Saker but after a few deep breaths I hurled it into the air and hoped.  I've forgotten just how clearly the Falcon reacts and indicated thermal lift.  It wasn't long before I was comfortably flying from thermal to thermal.  

  A good day and the first time this year I've come away from the slope wishing I'd packed the sun cream rather than waterproofs.  Another cool Falcon day

Monday, 1 May 2023

A summer social


    Getting a bank holiday pass to go and fly was a bit of a surprise but not to be turned down.  It won't be news that the Saker and Falcon both got a day out to Whitesheet.  It's always fun to chat with other pilots and have the chance to compare your own flying and use of the the air with theirs.

  The Saker and Falcon didn't let me down at all.  Keeping up as the lift died and accelerating away as the thermals came through.  The Saker was ballasted up to well over 3kg and does seem happy at that weight in summer conditions.

  A good day out for slope Dog and me.

Monday, 24 April 2023

The Summer league has started!


  What a fun weekend and day of challenging British F3F!  With the sun shining and barely a breeze to hinder our merry band as we skipped up the trail to the Ice cream slope it was great to have the chance to catch up with some old friends as we waited for the wind to join us.

  It also gave the chance to look around at the variety of models being raced, from memory the field included.

Device, Mamba, Freestylers, Extreme, Toxic, Pitbull, an Orden and of course the Saker.  As a judge of models the weekend wasn’t very scientific, the Mamba won and Devices cam second from the top and second from the bottom of the leader board.

2 sleek models

  My own day could be summed up quite well in the first 2 rounds, both times I found myself pushing out from the slope in desperate search for a thermal as my Saker lost height.  Round 1 had a re-flight and a top 5 time, round 2 didn’t have re-flight and I ‘enjoyed’ a sedate 88 seconds on course before heading off in search of lift.

  As the wind built and kept swinging around, a heavier approach to ballast seemed to deliver results for me.  Different pilots were clearly wrestling with the issue of ballasting.  It would be harsh to suggest that “if you got good lift you go fast- if you not you don’t.” didn’t have a large amount to do with the results with in each round but the better pilots made the most of the good stuff and managed to minimise the damage of the poor air.

  The Saker was proving itself to be more than competitive in the conditions, only to be let down by my thumbs on the last round of the day.  It’s 2 land out avoiding flights did make me feel more confident with the air frame and the race conditions.

and thats league 1 done

Monday, 3 April 2023

Champion of Champions race

   The weekend saw what I believe was the 13th champion of champions race.  A 2 day race over a full weekend that has regularly provided some great racing and even better memories- one of my flying ideas tht seems to have worked out pretty well.

  As Slope dog and I set off into the drizzle this year, there was certainly more hope than expectation but even as the morning rain fell the Welsh hill tops were visible and the course was laid out on the VR98 slope before lunch.

Regardless of my own performance (I even managed to stand on my sunglasses before round 2), for many pilots it was their 2nd race all winter and we were loving it- isn't that the point?  Stefan and Mark were clearly the class of the field but as the sun came out just about everyone had some air to enjoy.  With 9 rounds in the day there was the chance for everyone.

We're off and William had every right to be happy with his performance

Mark colouring his Device nearly worked as a disguise, if the model names weren't on the flaps

More smiling pilots, A wining smile from Stefan and Super CD Graham

all that fun can just get too much some times!

If a weekend like this doesn't wet your appetite for the summer what will?  See you in 3 weeks

Sunday, 19 March 2023

The next model name will have to be Red Kite

   Another Saturday afternoon thrash with the Falcons on Whiteshite hill.  With the breeze building and even some spring time thermals I was really surprised that there were not more human pilots there.

  For much of the afternoon I was sharing the airspace with the resident group of Red kites.  This time I remembered the better camera so here's a pic,  These guys really know what they are doing and don't seem to be bothered at all by my toys.  Seeing them there does help to make the day- makes me want to make a new model- just to call it Red Kite:-)

  I did my usual trick of taking 3 models but only flying 1 of them, this tie the Falcon was first out of the bag.  It was the first time this year that I have experienced that 'kick' as a thermal comes on to the slope and you have to start to modify your turns very quickly.

  I was joined by an M60 EPP model.  I have some great memories of when these were used in EPP 60 racing.  I had forgotten just what good sports flying models they are.