Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Having a Blast

  No Woollybacks this year but getting my Merlin finished has given me the chance to get the ballast in and have a real blast off the south coast.  I know the Merlin design so well now that a first flight doesn’t seem like a maiden anymore- but that doesn't stop it bringing a smile to my face as the cobwebs and turkey get blown away.
  For having a blast throwing the model about without fear of it biting your just have to go a very long way to beat the Merlin.  It was only the fading light and lowering clouds that sent me back home.

  It’s days out in that air that really spurs you on with the 2016 projects!

Monday, 14 December 2015

Storm Flying

  A break in the weather and I didn’t have to be asked twice if I wanted to get out for a morning’s flying.  So as the cloud base lifted I was heading out to find a suitably big cliff to match the weekend’s winds.

  Any thoughts of F3F practise soon went out of the window.  A heavily ballasted Willow 2 in these conditions is just too much fun! Huge vertical pumps were possible and the clouds touched a good few times.  The waves bellow the cliffs were looking very angry in these big conditions but they were long long way down!

  I always have in mind that these conditions I’d be flying my Merlin- in the past It’s had me grinning for hours in big air like that.  It’s testament to the easy handling of the Willow 2 that I ended up flying my newly finished race model.  You just have to be happy some days!

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

A Wavey Willow?

Not a new version but I got my lovely new box of models for Christmas.  I'll be boxing up this week and the model look a step again.

  One set of wings for me that I'm really looking forward to testing and playing with are a set of Willow wings with a new waves spar.  Probably the biggest wing I know of to try this spar.  It certainly passes the hand twist and attempted bend across the chest.- Time to get them on a fuselage and flying in the wild winter winds. 

 Sometime you really remember why you build and fly models!

Friday, 27 November 2015

Christmas Delivery

I've been told now that my Christmas delivery of models is on it's way.

I have 2 Merlin models, definitely my favourite sports/racer and when the wind blows that new joiner and tough build make it my weapon of choice.

perfect for winter flying and racing and the best model available today for- £450

Contact me for more details

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Thanks for the pictures

Thanks to Simon Jones for the Willow 2 pictures.  As I do much of my flying alone good shots of the model in the air are hard to find!

Monday, 23 November 2015

A day out and Mark's Willow Maiden

  No pictures from this weekend but a stunning day on Aggies on Sunday.  The plan to get some air time in before the foam arrived didn’t go totally smoothly as the wind swung around for most of the morning.

  The delay in flying gave me chance to catch up with Roger- worth the trip alone!

  As so as the weather was flyable the Willow 2 was the first away again and soon cruising about.  It’s cheating flying a model like the Willow 2, in marginal conditions when parts of the slope are working and other not the pure distance that you can travel from lift to lift always amazes’ me.
  As the Air build up I had chance to add some ballast for a flight.  With only 500G she really did feel on step and so smooth and slippery.

  I know that family commitments will mean no Champ of champs for me this year and so the winter's flying will be more about fun and picking the odd race.

  At the opposite side of the country Mark treble was maidening his Willow 2 and I a comp- you have to admire his confidence!  He was doing well until a receiver battery issue had him strength testing the model.  Here’s a few of his build pictures- lovely work!

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Willow vs the Weather

    After being restricted to a couple of light air days flying since the Welsh Open I wasn’t going to miss out on the 40MPH wind forecast for this weekend.

  The Low cloud meant that my new red winged Willow 2 was the ‘sensible’ option, ignoring that I haven’t flown this model before.  Phil Taylor and his Ceres were to be the warm up and cloud base finders.  Unfortunately Phil’s flight only lasted about 10 seconds as he managed to flick 4.5kg of model in to Devon slope.

  This did mean that he was available to launch for me.  I can’t explain how much I enjoyed the flight.  Not a click of trim and the Willow 2 was away, I’d only put around 1kg of the ballast in but she was making good progress and really building up speed.  Hands off on the edge?  Yep she just tracks on and gets faster and faster- More proof that it’s my thumbs which have been slowing down the Willows for all this time.

  I was able to play with a number of different turn styles, each one done well kept her screaming around the slope.  It was noticeable just how little flex or control fade I had.  The Willow 2 remained crisp, smooth and fast through everything.

  A few high turns in later flights showed that the cloud base was coming down.  It’s an un-nerving feeling to watch your model disappear into the grey!  It would take more than that to take the smile off my face!


  Great flying

Monday, 28 September 2015

Willow 2 is top of the Table

OK it might have been my thumbs all along, the Willow 2 in Clayton’s hands had a storming day on the Mynd this weekend.  I don’t want to get distracted by round Zeros meaning the result won’t count to the league- Well Done Clayton.
  It’s great to see the philosophy that you don’t need to spend over £1,000 on an air frame to win working still.
I’ll  just have to keep blaming the kids for my poor form!

Clayton Lansdells
Mark Redsell
Mike Evans
Simon Thornton
Peter Gunning
Paul Stubley
Andy Burgoyne
Gregg Dakin
Martin Newnham
Mark Treble
John Treble

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Welsh Open- 3 long days for 15 seconds of Ecstasy

  What a 3 days!  The Welsh open has a habit of leaving you feeling weathered and  exhausted but with 3 days of flying, alternating from the Crest to Mickies and back to the Crest on the final day, there were broad smiles on the faces of all Pilots.
  First of all the organising team, I can’t praise these guys well enough.  Day 1 had us all skipping merrily over to the Crest well before the start time and we found Knewt and Mark Treble fumbling on the start line.  I have to admit t being puzzled at first but the new timing gear they were setting up more than proved itself.  Automated working time, count down, lap counter and round time- also combined with the times being show on the safety line- you can’t get much better can you?
  The low key highly effective approach went through the full weekend, even the Buzzing was organised without the use of cattle prods.
  The conditions over a total of 13 racing rounds were always ‘good’ and often challenging but the wind stayed between 8 and 14ms al weekend and so the race did not become a contest of these with the most Tungsten.
  Day 1 saw Joel West show just how to fly a reversals course.  With the rest of the cream was steadily rising to the top myself and fellow willow flyer Clayton were finding out how important practising on course is.  I’m convinced that I was spending as much time off course than on it in the first rounds.
  Day 2 saw us move to the far side of Mickies, only a sharp shower stopped us from starting on time and the course was set up for an immediate start.  Perhaps it was the bleary eyes starting to emerge but day 2 saw the first models damaged that I can remember.
  I had been delighted with the performance of the Willow 2 on day 1 and into day 2, only my thumbs and a set up that was feeling too soft to race (Devon set up) were holding the model back.  Then 4 rounds in I saw Frank and Martin fly in front of me and a thermal showed itself for them.  I launched climbed beautifully, came on course a little early to make use of the air and off she went.  16 seconds and 6 of my most enjoyable legs of F3F I can remember.  The Willow screamed, I pulled her round as fast as I could and she shot around the course.  Unfortunately the thermal passed too quickly and I slowed down before my PB was safe.
  With the usual grumbles of Thermal lotteries from different pilots, the skill of Martin, Simon and the Dark lord Dakin were a master class and whatever the lift they made the most of it.
  Day 3 and it was a less than merry skip along the Crest to Mid Wales.  The Welsh open Marathon was proving tough, our number was dropping off and mistakes coming in.  My own was to simply hit the hill as I tried to run along the edge.  A cartwheel and wing recovery later and the only damage was the servo tray coming loose- tough toys these Willows!  The number of pilot mistakes seemed to step up again but the reaction to this by the Dark Lord was to fly the hardest and best flight of the day in his last round- stunning!
  The weekend is a great chance to see other models and modellers.  My feeling this year in the UK is that the new models have mainly come from different ways to bolt various Baudis parts together.  I love the look of the Radical Jazz flown by Daniel.  I didn't realise just how many top 10 places Clayton achieved with his Willow 2- really confirms to me that it's my thumbs and not the model holding me back!
  Seeing a Spline in the flesh was a treat.  The different set up and ballasting philosophies from non UK from the continental pilots was good to see.  Less ballast and flown with more ‘ping’ to the turn was reminiscent of the Sting guys coming over.   It also showed that choosing a method and flying it well is probably more important than the method.
  So after 3 days the winners were very worthy and a great competition was well run in fantastic conditions which sort out the best pilots.
1 Simon Thornton 10949.04
2 Joel West 10873.91
3 Peter Gunning 10780.76
4 Martin Newnham 10606.39

5 Greg Dakin 10602.92

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Two fun days

I've not had the chance to post anything about this year's welsh open, that's probably because each day has seen us flying until after 6. Day 1 w the crest and yesterday on mickies.

There's been some top draw flying from some really good guys. More on the technical stuff later but the biggest news is that Scott Ravenscroft (ex Leek sloper) has managed to stay fit for 2 days- smashing his PB.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

English open and some Welsh Practise

  The End of August and I took the plunge to enter the Whitesheet Thermal lottery (sorry English Open).  I took 2 Willow 2 models along for the weekend and it was great to see 3 other pilots with various Willow versions.  It was interesting to see the Willow 2 with a Willow 1 tail that Joe Cubitt has been enjoying so much- it certainly looked to have a good turning control in the light air.

  John Bennett flying his Willow 1 looked his classy self all the way through the race.

  The delay in the start of the race gave time for the almost no wind conditions to be well established  and start to swing off course whilst the factor 30 to be liberally applied.  With ballast completely removed the Willow 2 behaved impeccably and was placed around the top 5 in the first 2 rounds.  Flying in conditions which demand reliability and performance seem to be right up the Willow’s street.

  A rush of blood and optimism that our change of slope and slight increase in summer breeze had me gambling on ballast and loosing. 

  The Joy of Whitesheet is the variability of conditions.  A summer’s day flying the slope is one of soaring’s great pleasures and should be enjoyed- even when you are racing.  This does mean that in racing at Whitesheet you are buying  a ticket for the thermal lottery but this is not news and the variability of F3F has always been one of it’s great pleasures.

  Perhaps it is the low nature of the Whitesheet slopes that seems to emphasize the variances in lift more than other sites.   Whilst I do not see the English open  Ever rivalling the Welsh Open in terms of speed or prestige it’s a great place to fly with some excellent company.

  After a fun evening meal and an interesting night under canvas and massive rain it was time to convene for day 2.  A dash of common sense and we were drinking coffee in a local pub garden.  Although the bad weather meant that there was no racing on the Sunday, the 4 hours it took to read out the previous day’s scores mean that the rain had stopped in Devon on the way home.

  I had the chance to fly some more and test out my latest Merlin.  It’s very tempting to pack a Merlin and a Willow for the Welsh open- next to the BaroccaJ

- Not a bad end to a fun weekend!

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Bespoke model combinations

After Joe Cubitt's fun on Lundy with a willow sporting a shortened fuselage I have been asked by a few people if we can supply different combinations of wings/fuselages/tails.

 Yep, we can do that! I have flown different combinations of models and wings whilst testing different parts. The shorter boom of the merlin gives a model a lot of pilots like.

Drop me a line

I'm just back from the English open (report when I have chance). It was good to see Joe Cubitt's willow. The wings and fuselage of a willow 2 but with a willow 1 tail. I have aimed to make as many parts of willows and merlin interchangeable as possible. Fitting a willow 1 tail is an absolute doddle, they use the same joiners.

4 pilots flying willows at the English open, not bad at all

Friday, 14 August 2015

last merlin of the summer

I have 1 merlin left from my summer batch. I've been having a blast this summer flying my merlin, the best sports model you can race I've seem.

This one is the. Blue/yellow tip design, made with the merin's longer joiner.

£450 and it's yours


Monday, 3 August 2015

an intense mornings set-up

A fantastic mornings flying on what's fast becoming my favourite cliff site. The sea winds have given some great flying this summer. The wind direction was on the shortest section of the slope, about 130m. My new willow 2 set up has the snapflap reduced to 2mm and only coming in at the end of the stick thow. Combined with some rudder-aileron mix.

 This might not be the set up for you but wow she was fast. The next race is planned to be the whitesheet BARCS open, a chance to see how the set up goes on the course.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

summer building offer

I have 2 Merlins on there way through customs at the moment. Latest spec and a 45cm long joiner for the biggest of air.

I can offer these built, with the servos of your choice.

An offer price £500 plus the servos you want fitting.

All connectors, looms and nose ballast included.


Saturday, 4 July 2015

almost the perfect day

After far too long in the car I've arrive in Yorkshire and the hole of horcum. 5 hours of flying with the willow 2 and its time for fish and chips with a beer. It's fantastic to be able to spend time setting up and enjoying the model on a race edge.

Flying in land on a site with a large amount of thermal activity I love to fly in the same space and let the model and turns react to the energy available. A stunning afternoons flying.

Now weather calls! More sport flying tomorrow- not a bad plan b.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Pulling the Crowds!

No North of England Open for me over the weekend - a Huge congratulations to Clayton and his Willow 2 performace BTW

  Some sport flying in the sunshine had me showing off my skills to the Devon Inteligencia.

Off to the HoH league race this weekend to get away from the nutters next door and top up my accent!

Sunday, 7 June 2015

2 Plus 2 = Fun

With a new radio and test flying my new Willow 2 it's been a couple of weeks of test flying.

Saturday and a short pass to a loal slope meant I actually got too meet some other modellers!  A bit of a chat and flying is great relief from the week.

  The willows, of course flew fantasticly well.  With very little ballast and some active skies the Willows took the good air and cut through the bad.  My latest Willow 2 should be a good basis for a build pagge too!

Friday, 22 May 2015

Willows in Sweden

  I have some fatastic memories of flying models on the coast of Scandinavia, I've recieved these pictures from Andreas flying his model inn Sweden.  Hope the flying did the views some justice!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Summer Eveings

  Summer evenings are definitely here and the light evenings have given me the chance to get out and simply enjoy flying.

  The plan was to try for some practise but be warned- flying the Merlin first makes time disappear.  Light breezes and buoyant air greeted me and so 600g of ballast was put in the Merlin and we were off.  Spotting the last of the evening’s thermals and climbing out was a doddle and the weight in the Merlin gave it enough momentum to really have some fun with the height.
  I’ve been playing with programming in rudder/aileron mixing and she was loving that through some sweeping turns.  Some more playing and it became a case of what I could do to up-set the Merlin- it’s hard to do and she really telegraphs when she is getting close to the edge.
  All that messing around and fun meant that I flew for far longer than I planned or thought.  Nights like this really remind me of my old Wizard compact, simply well balanced, well mannered and fun- the one difference being that the Merlin’s extra wing makes it better suited to converting lift to performance.
  Launching the Willow 2 for a  quick go afterwards and in 1 word- slippy!  The Willow 2 flys lighter than the Merlin but the energy and momentum is remarkable.  As the evening move on and the sun moved directly in front of me to below the flight line it’s time for home.  But what an evening!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Still Here!

The brisk winds over the last few days have given me my first chance to get out and have fun since the Champion of Champions race.  I can’t recommend ripping a Willow up and down the cliffs highly enough as a fantastic way of getting a week out of your head.
  As the wind was a crossed and variable there was a few times where i didn’t realise just how much air speed I was carrying until I pulled up and watched her keep on going up.  I’ve never flown a model which seems to carry it’s energy so well through different manoeuvres.  So was it good practise for racing- probably not, will I start to place better in races- probably not but wow I had a smile on my face!
  It’s Emma’s 4th birthday the weekend of the Nationals so I’ll be serving up Jelly and ice cream rather than racing but it gives me time to finish my lovely new Willow 2 and have more fun on the slopes!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

2015 champion of Chhampions

The Champion of Champions race was conceived as a top class race with the UK’s top pilots being pushed hard to see who was the best.  This year has to go down as the most intense races I have attended.  My lack of flying this year was a guarantee that I wouldn’t me making the top 10 but that didn’t detract from the experience .   The difference between sport flying on my local slopes and racing is very very obvious.

  The storm which past through over the weekend of the race meant that the traditional Blwch location would not have worked but thanks to some great planning by Martin, the cliff slopes at the Gower were available to us.    Day 1 had a few pilots swallowing hard before launching, as the wind varied from 44.5degrees off to 90 but we raced and got 5 good rounds in.

  Conditions were tough but it was good to see Scott Ravenscroft with 2 thumbs again after the Welsh open- and he needed them as he had me buzzing just to make him go back to the front of the slope!

  Saturday was a long day and the trio to the car park at the too poof the slope left everyone needing a shower before the evening curry- most pilots made the right choice.

  Day 2 and the wind was more square on as the night’s storm worked through we were racing by 11:00.  It was clear that some pilots were simply flying in different air to the rest of us.  Quite what magic they did as they were launched I don’t know.  Whilst many of us spent most of the 30 seconds to generate some energy Simon Thornton in particular seemed to use a Celtic incantation and Joel managed to shoot him off immediately into some huge pumping action.  Simply flying in different air to take first place.
  Special mention has to go too Daniel, it’s only 18 months since a timid young German slipped out of John Philip's car.  Now he’s taking 4th place with his radical jazz and flying superbly- I’m sure Martin will have beaten it out of him on the way home.
  As a CD and organiser he did a faultless job all weekend- well done Martin
I’m off to practice and do the Willow some justice.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

A sunny day out

  Now not moving house left me with a day off and some brownie points to squander.  Sunshine and a northerly had me heading up to St Agnes to meet up with Roger.  The first few flights were with the Willow 2, as always they felt smooth and as I added different amounts of ballast in the consistent air it was easy to gauge the effect on how the model corners and flys.

  Roger was doing the same with his Radical.  Whist neither of us were exactly hammering the models it was clear just how alike they were flying and how well they both maintained their energy around the turns. 

 I couldn’t help but get the Merlin out for some fun.  I flew the Merlin dry first of all and she was bouncing around the turns and really putting a smile on my face. But as I put more weight in her the extra energy meant  I could play more and more.  This is a model which loves reversals and really laps up harsh controls.  I can’t think of a better tough sports/racing moldie out there!
  I’d forgotten that Roger hadn’t seen a Merlin since the early prototype I had.  It’s only when I step back and think of the models from a few years ago that I appreciate the quality and construction steps we’ve taken.  I wish my flying had taken the same steps.

 As Roger put his Radical through it’s paces and scared the birds some other guys turned up.  A flying site like Aggies can be frustratingly busy sometimes, not yesterday, but seeing the other models out there and relaxing in a beautiful location!
Too little too late for the Champion of Champions but a fantastic time-thanks Roger!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015


I know young Master Knewt is working far too hard at the moment so here's amy latest unofficial Welsh open list.  Yep it's reached the 55 mark already

1Frank hultonEngland
2Mark AbbottsEngland
3Martin NewhamEngland
4Ian masonEngland
5Jiri HladkySwiss
7Andrzej TaberoWales
8Mark TrebleEngland
9Stefan FraundorferAustria
10Erik HeijneNertherlands
11Simon ThorntonEngland
12Mark RedsellEngland
13Kurt PlanitzerAustria
14Paul StubleyEngland
16Rick RuijsinkNertherlands
17 Frits Donker DuyvisNertherlands
18Kurt WeillstraatNertherlands
19Tobias LämmleinGermany
20Greg DakinEngland
21Stefan BertschiSwiss
22     John TrebleEngland
23Gerhard NiederhoferAustria
24Mike EvansEngland
25Andy BurgoyneEngland
26leslie woodEngland
27Martin DrewettEngland
28Graeme MahoneyEngland
29Tony LivingstoneEngland
30Clayton LandellsWales
31Daniel SchneiderGermany
32Roger HilmanEngland
33Joel WestEngland
34Martin BeplerGernany
35Keith Wood England
36Paul Garnett England
37pete burgessEngland
38Reto Blumerswiss
39richard bagoEngland
40Kevin NewtonEngland
41Jason BiolettiEngland
42Christian SchnepfleitnerSwiss
43Greg LewisEngland
44dave rumbleEngland
45Jose Luis AlvarezSpain
46Cedric GRANDSEIGNEfrance
47Joe CubittEngland
48Marcelino Puñal Spain
49Iñaki Elizondo Spain
50Iñigo Herrera Spain
51Jorge MedinaSpain
52Lazaro Martinez Spain
53Fernando MoroSpain
54Peter gunningScotland
55Stuart WallaceEngland
r1John Edisonengland
r2Alejandro Gil GarciaSpain