Tuesday, 23 November 2021

The next developement continues

 Polishing up a set of wing molds is not a quick or fun part of develping a new model. It could be a long job but I can't wait to see the result of these!




Monday, 22 November 2021

VR 98 the mythical slope delivers


  With the weather and Welsh winter league not coming together this month I had the chance to meet up with some mates on the VR98 slope.  It's one of the most famous slopes in the UK which can deliver some incredible racing and simply amazing sport flying.  Getting out of the car into the teeth of a stiff winter northerly I also remembered just how dam cold  a place it can be.

  I can't remember the last time I raced on this slope in conditions like this.  With extra layers donned it was to get the first model out of the car, I had offered the Dark Lord Dakin a fly of the Falcon at the Welsh open and so this was the first toy out.  I was pleased with my first flight- and then Greg took his turn- someone had added a rocket and she was screaming around.

  "She's got good carry" as Greg took the Falcon vertical again and screamed is down across the slope.  The Falcon is defiantly Dakin tested tough!

  My next flight I decided to try and copy the style Greg had so well demonstrated, a minute or so in and a monster thermal came through.  The Falcon was off and I flew the fastest course I've ever managed.  This was after Greg and Mark Passingham had done similarly, we all sheltered on the hill with grins like Cheshire cats!

  The Falcon again had me leaving the slope amazingly happy.  But the next race- it will be so tempting to race the Falcon.  I think the 100inch span is about as small as I'd like to get a model like this, at a ballasted 3.5kg she certainly delivers!



it was interesting to see a Needle 100 on the slope.  It didn't fly unfortunately.  

 

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Winter project

 I love a good winter project, plenty of time to think of some new ideas and ponder older ones.




Sunday, 14 November 2021

Just for the fun of flying

 

  Flying is by no means all about racing.  Saturday was a great day to get out with 2 favourite toys, meet up with some mates ad fly.

  This is something that makes up a huge part of my enjoyment of flying.  The Harrier is like putting on an favourite pair of shoes, just feeling familiar and totally trusted.

  What is possibly becoming my favourite model is the 100 inch Falcon.  With excellent performance she is certainly the quickest and most responsive model I have flown in a long time.  As I enjoyed the week winter thermals I found myself pondering if it would out perform the Wizard compacts I loved for so many years.

  It was great to hear the comments from the other flyers about the models looks (I have to get some better looking tape) and build quality but also it's flying performance.  I was left coming away from the slope with a huge grin on my face- again!

I decided to measure and up-date the falcon settings in the build notes.  The Falcon's lightweight wings mean that they respond well to lower throws on the ailerons.




Sunday, 17 October 2021

Simply joyful at Micky's

   What a day on micky's! Sometimes writing about a days flying is best done after thinking about it but the buzz from flying a great slope on a sunny day is something so good to have. 

  Although I couldn't make the race this weekend, the prospect of flying and setting up my Harrier wasn't going to be missed.  Pumping wasn't giving me much but on the edge the Harrier just grooved. It's nice to have a model that you can almost deliberately speed up and slow down by taking the turns differently. 

   It's so much easier when there's no buzzer and your thumbs are relaxed!

  I have got into the habit of only flying 1 model each time I fly. But the Falcon just kept looking at me. The falcon in these conditions was just pure joy and fun to fly. It feels quicker than the larger Harrier, if not faster against the clock. For pure fun and enjoyment I cant think of anything to top the Falcon today. 









Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Welsh Open

  

  What a weekend, the Welsh open never fails to deliver a fantastic weekend of good company.  This year’s race was 3 days of seeing some top draw flying that was like a mast class at times.  The first obvious lesson was don’t turn up to the race tired, damaged models and poor flying will most likely follow- In my case the pre-production Harrier I have enjoyed for nearly 18 months was cartwheeled on fight 1.

  The day did allow my to sit and watch some stunning examples of EM turn flying, particularly from the Austrian team.  With some brain picking the weekend really did turn out to be an educational experience.  The delay in the day 2 start allowed me to test fly my first production Harrier and that was it- I wasn’t going to put it down for the weekend.  With the stock set up, my times started to come down and scores up.  This continued through day 3 and some respectable flying showed how

  The typically thermic conditions gave everyone a chance of a good run but as always the better pilots just seem to make that bit more of what ever they get- regardless of style, model or slope.  Flying EM turns certainly seems to give more air speed but further travelled, when compared to the straight lines flown by many British pilots.

  A great weekend, well run by Kevin and the SWSA team.  Now to practise those turns!


Sunday, 12 September 2021

Back to portland

 The Whitesheet club's 24th scale day of the year inspired me to return to Portland for the first time in many years and the first time with my Harriers. 

  It's my first trip to the sea side for a while and the Portland cliffs were an enticing site. With the prospect of racing off the wrecker next week it felt a good choice. 

  I don't think that I'd fancy self launching a design without the Harrier's fuselage to grip onto. But with a landing spot chosen and ballast added she was soon away and ripping the edge.

 The predictability that come from a model I've flown for well over a year really helped to put the harrier in the compression more often than not.  And that made it fast and fun!

  A walk on chisel beach on the way home with 2 scratch free models helped me smile all the way!

  


Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Weekend away at the Mynd


  It's not often that driving round after the family fits in so well with a trip too the slope.  With Emma having a full day at Lillieshall I had the time to enjoy a sunny few hours on the Mynd.  It's been a good few years since I drove up the steep road that climbs to the top of the big old lump that is the Mynd.

  There was more wind than I expected at the top.  Not a gale but a steady 6-12mph and glorious sunshine.

  I did my usual trick and carried 2 models across to the slope but I only ended up flying the Falcon.  It feels a light weight model and very responsive to lift and thermals.  When the lift did come through, some smooth flying had the Falcon scooting around very nicely and carrying the energy very very well.  I was enjoying it too much to switch to the Harrier before the wind died off.

  It was great to meet up with Andy Burgoyne to see some great flying with his freestyler and excellent company.  A lovely day out and I'm looking forward to the next trip out.










 

Monday, 23 August 2021

English Open weekend

   A fun weekend's flying with the Harriers.  I've not been able to make any league comps for a good few years but a 2 day comp close to home was one to make.  Day 1 was cancelled and so I had the chance to fly Beer cliffs.  A stunning place to fly with 400ft vertical cliffs and a steady breeze. But as prep for Whitesheet it wasn't the best!

  Whitesheet's thermal lottery was always going to be a challenge.  The organisation from the club managed to squeeze 10 rounds in and give everyone the chance of at least 1 good flight.  Once I remembered where the bases were I was really pleased with the pace of the Harrier between the bases.  When my good air did come (round 9) she was away and screamed around the course to set the 2nd fastest time of the day.

  My eventual 10th is the second time in 2 comps that the Harrier has delivered this year, after the Nationals.  Looking at the other models on show it's clear that there's more than 1 way to set up and fly each model.  The Pike Precision 2 was a good example, Mike Shelim had his set up really nicely and and when the lift came he delivered some very impressive times.

  A few weeks to the Welsh open any my next comp.

Monday, 16 August 2021

Dusting off the Harrier

  Between kids holidays and having so much fun flying the Falcon for he last few week's I realised that with the English open thermal lottery next week it was about time I got the Harrier going again.

  Sunday was Whitesheet's open slope day and it was fantastic to see so many modellers arriving at the hill with an array of toys.  Rusty? oh yes! but its wasn't long before I was wondering why I fly anything other than the Harrier- this is possibly why I always seem to take 2 models and just fly 1 when I go flying.

  I see that flightech have received their latest batch of Harriers.  It won't be long before there'll be more of these in the skys!

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Summer evenings

  Starting work again has meant that trips to the slope have been more restricted lately.  But some summer evening fly shouldn't be turned down when you get the chance.  The Falcon has been the model that has come with me on just about every trip.  Forget the the Harrier did so well in the nationals, I'm just loving the Falcon.  Where as the Harrier I love putting the ballast in, the Falcon seems to feel better with a lower wing loading.

  I really do enjoy a 100inch model, a lovely size for glide performance and agility as well as being able to centre on small pockets of lift. 

    Summer evenings, flying until the light goes are a special part of flying that I really enjoy.  The  antidote to that storm flying in the winter wearing 3 jumpers.






Saturday, 19 June 2021

Harrier goes electric

 I've been sent details of Guillaume's excellent blog.  He's taken a Harrier and electrified it.  This is something that I have very little knowledge about and so I wouldn't want to make any recommendations of my own.

Harrier build log (guillaumeplayground.net)

It's great to see someone taking the Harrier and having fun with it, this is the whole point of this flying game!

Saturday, 12 June 2021

Falcons in the sunshine

   After a great weekend at the nationals, the light winds and sunshine tempted me out to whitesheet with the Falcons. I had my blue fuselage model to maiden, a great excuse to get out. Team tea bag were, of course, there. 



  With the usual conversations going on about 'this model fly in up to 10mph then I'll get the next model from the car' I couldn't help to remember that this was the falcon that I had screaming around the crest in 40mph. 

  Dry, the harrier are spritely models and I've been dialling back the ailerons when in 'speed mode' to reduce the drag. It's light weight really helps it circle up in the summer thermals. I've not done much playing with reflex but having a lovely time learning. 

Monday, 7 June 2021

Weekend at the nationals

 Racing on Micky's is something I've not enjoyed for a long time and racing in the sunshine on Micky's feels like such a rare thing.  Combined with catching up with some old friends and life was good!  There was enough of a breeze that you were unlikely to land out but the warm sunshine generated a regular cycle of ballistic thermals and sticky sink, perhaps my first flight summed this up, a 68 run followed by such an epic thermal whilst I was going to land that my Harrier was climbing with the CROW out.




  For the last year I have been loving flying my Harrier and that's meant a lot of air time.  Until you're up against the clock and other models on the same slope you're never quite sure just how quick the model is.  After Saturday's racing I feel that we have proved what we already knew- if you have the lift you will go fast, if not you won't.  Having flown the Harrier for a good number of hours I felt prepared to react to lift coming and going during a run and reacting to this.  It became clear that those other pilots flying 1 model were generally in a similar position.



  Those switching models in order to try and attract a thermal seemed to do less well.  I was really pleased with the rounds where the Harrier ended up in 2nd/3rd and 5th position but just about all the runs felt settled and straight.  The Harrier was just easy to fly.  I think my 1 cut may have cost me a top 6 place but the Harrier turned really well.

  Pete Gunning was simply fastest and smoothest all weekend- you can't fault him.

  The other models on show that caught my eye for some very different reasons were the Shinto- a beautiful elliptical plan form and John Philip's Impulse 2- the sheer simplicity of the planform and tail remined my of my own models and it's can't half go!

  A great weekend, I can look forward to the next one confident that the Harrier can mix it with those more expensive models.

Monday, 31 May 2021

Sun burn tingling from a great day's flying

 Days when sunshine and breeze combine on the Bwlch don't come along very often but when they do- make the most of them.  The confidence I have in the Harrier is such a bonus and meant that I was happy to have her over 4.2kg for all of the day.  The variation in the trough out the day kept on increasing but the joy of sport flying rather than racing is that you can hang around waiting for that thermal to come through- and when it did- wow!

  This only increased, with everyone else dropping ballast down steadily I kept gambling.  Only the thermal flap kept the Harrier going until that last thermal but it wasn't half worth it!  Now for landing, light to no wind and over 4kg of model- she's going to keep on coming.  With nothing more than some mud to wipe off I was getting less nervous about the landings.

  A great day with excellent company, if only the races were like this.

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Blasting the crest

 A race weekend on the crest!  Pitty the race was scheduled for whitesheet. 


First flight blasting the Harrier round, now relax




Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Time to go heavy!

   After a few trips flying my Falcons I decided it was time to get the Harrier out and load in the Tungsten.  Whitesheet is a great place to fly and chat with some good friends but it can be baffling to fly there.

  The wind was strong enough to see foamies being blown behind the hill and I wanted to play with the Harrier ballasted up to over 4kg.  From Pitbulls, Freestylers to Harriers when the air cycled through as poor we carved around and covered the air at a good pace.

  But when the thermals came on and the air got as good as it looked- wow!  Up turns, reversals huge open loops you can do them all faster and bigger than I've done in a while.  Not a day for setting up but having a huge smile on your face when the lift did come through.  When you're heading back without a scratch with a model you have such confidence in, you have to love it!





Monday, 17 May 2021

You Know you're obsessed when...

    Yep the weather has been wet but when you have a new model like the Falcon it seems perfectly sane to sit in the car during the rain and dash out during the odd glimpse of sun shine.



  Even slope dog kept looking at me in a confused way but I loved the afternoon's flying.  From scratching around to the tail picking up and scooting round, a good moldie is the best model for those conditions too.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

A morning by the sea

   Weather and opportunity came together today and I was away to Beer Head cliff. This can be an amazing site, 400ft vertical cliff but a smooth air landing area with grass trimmed by the local sheep. 

  I've had a couple of light air outings with the Falcon lately but nothing to test the settings. I've become comfortable with a Cg of 95mm and around 5mm elevator.  I have 2 settings for snap flap 4mm and 2mm. Each one has the snap coming in much later in the stick, this provides some exponential in the elevator effect. 



   Flying the falcon is much more of an adrenaline buzz than the Harrier. With more snap the Falcon certainly bounces rather than carves the turns. I must be getting used to the settings because it feels equally fast with each setting- for sports flying without a clock. 

  Flying today the Falcon felt on rails, smooth air gave me the chance to fly to play with different turns. I had 900g ballast in again today. It's resistance to being up-set reminds me of the old wiz, but the Harrier just feels more slippery and responsive, a little like the first Freestyler I flew.

  I've long given up worrying about the Falcon or Harrier bending in the air, these are strong excellent models and giving me so much fun. Time to put number 2 together I'll publish some build notes as I go.  Safe to say model 2 slipped together with no sanding.


Monday, 26 April 2021

An Epic day on the crest

 When you approach the Bwlch there's always a nagging thought about the trip home.  You could be buzzing after an epic day or reflecting on the work you'll have to fix the bag of bits you have in the boot.

  After the conditions I have flown the Harrier in over the last 12 months I knew the model wasn't going to be the problem but there's always my thumbs to deal with.

  The Harrier was the first to go, once you get her away from the edge the lift was smooth and simply epic.  In these conditions it's easy to go fast, different turns and the distance from the compression just allows you to change from very fast to scary fast.

  It was soon the Falcon's turn, with just 2 flights in very light conditions it is testament that a good moldie just seems to be the best model for today's conditions in just about all conditions I want to fly in. I only ballasted here up to 3.2kg for the first flight, I think maidening your own design should be a 'golden maiden'?

  Thanks to the lads filming the flight to show just how turbulent the conditions were on the edge but she was away.  Despite my thumbs the Falcon handled the conditions wonderfully.  Covering the sky at a pace, I turned the rates down for this high speed flight but the Falcon was still very responsive.  I was pleased with the Falcon in light air but in this air she's amazing. 






  With later harrier flights I finally remembered the up turns I've been trying to learn and this picked the pace up again.  With some timing gear I am confident that mine would not have been the only PB to tumble.  One thing that was apparent with all the models there was just how little the models flex in flight.  My memories of the Bwlch and Crest are of flexing wing tips as the models corner (probably at much lighter weights than we flew) but this has gone.

  The Harrier and Falcon very much held their own in this group of models and I'm a happy flyer for it!

Saturday, 24 April 2021

Falcon on the crest

 What a day! I'm sure the forecast wasn't 17mps wind but after the harrier took its turn screaming around the crest with the other models I summoned up the courage to fly the falcon. 


Only half ballast and no ware near to set up but wow what an adrenalin rush!  Can't say much more!




Monday, 19 April 2021

Falcon Maidened- fantastically

   You always know when you’ve got a model to maiden, everything is built as fast as possible and then the wind stops.  The Falcon was looking at me from my work bench and so despite the wind dropping to next to nothing I found myself hurling the Falcon into the air.  A couple of adjustments and the cg was settled at 96mm.

  At 2.3kg the Falcon is a light model and she was flying on a breath of wind.  Just like my old favourite – the wizard compact, pulling too much elevator can scrub speed but she never felt close to letting go.  When the air did come through the Falcon picked up speed remarkably quickly.  I’d set her up with a reduced throw settings option, she was still very responsive.

  I’ll be waiting for the big wind days and ballast to really ring the Falcon out with a good lump of ballast.  But I’m so happy with the first day out!



Monday, 12 April 2021

Build progress

   Getting a new model always gets me keen to build, but when the model arrives on the same day as the keys to your new house, time is short.

  Having the wiring loom and King max servos ready to go has helped.  The crisp accurate molding really helps as the whole thing slots together.  I'll take some pictures of the wing build soon, it follows the same pattern as my other models

  The fuselage has come together really nicely, it is the slimmest fuselage Zhou and I have put together, it feels really nice and stiff.  

  The picture gives a good idea of the fuselage size, it's fitted with my trusty 19mm i/d ballast tube.  The King max servos have fitted in nicely into the servo tray.

  After another evening's decorating I'll get on with fixing the tray.




Friday, 9 April 2021

An exciting day!

 It's been a while in the coming but my prototype 100inch Falcon model has arrived. 

  If I can stop myself being too distracted I'll post some more as I go. But here are a couple of pics to show the model, joiner and comparison with the harrier wing. 


The finish and stiffness feel stunning to my first fondle








Monday, 5 April 2021

King Max Servos ready

 With a house moving coming up this week and the Falcon prototypes only held up by Easter it's time to get ready.

  Like the Harrier, the Falcon is designed to take the King Max servos and frames.  So time to get the servos in the frames and wiring loom finished.  I've been flying the Harrier prototype wing for over a year now with my first set of King max servos with no issues or slop.



  yes I'm excited and yes I really need to get out more.

Sunday, 4 April 2021

It feels like spring is in the air

   2 consecutive days flying does not happen to me very often any more but today it felt like spring had arrived on Whitesheet.  The wind did fill in during the day but remained very variable and intermittent.  If you had the nerve to keep going after scratching around and looking for a land out option, there was usually a thermal coming through for you to wish you had put ballast in.

  Every reason that Whitesheet can infuriate as a race venue made it an excellent day's sports flying.  

  As with just about all conditions I felt most comfortable flying the Harrier and as usual I didn't think to use both models.  Having the courage to launch and a well set up model rewarded the growing group of pilots.  It is nice to fly in such calm conditions to really see the shape of the turns I was pulling and how the energy was carrying through.

  Each person, enjoying the slope in their own way, from foamies (must build my Ahi) to scale models ejecting bits just after launch.  A good humoured day that left just about everyone with a smile and probably a little bit of sun burn.


  Regular up-dates on the Falcon's progress through the UPS international airports were a reminder of the work to be done next week!

Saturday, 3 April 2021

Back to flying and new toys on the way!

 It's just great to be back flying and seeing other guys on the hill.  The spring winds have been cold but it's fantastic that the Harrier has been getting some air time.  Combining the model that I have learnt the characteristics of, with a new Radio that gives me more options is proving good fun to change set up slowly and progressively.

  I've been flying more inland slopes recently with the variability that this brings.  The Harrier has proved that it can carry more ballast than I have got used to in previous years.  Different set ups have aloud me to widen the wind range that each ballast weight will fly fast in.  Driving the Harrier through the turns (really rolling before touching elevator) carries the speed through the turns nicely- I'm enjoying this spring more than I have for a good few years.

  With the Harrier making me so happy it almost feels like I'm being unfaithful that I'm so excited that the new prototype 100 inch model is in the air and coming over for me to put together and thrash.  Pictures will follow! 

Friday, 26 March 2021

New Jeti radio to learn

   Setting up a model like the Harrier and getting used to that set up is a very personal thing that takes a good while to get used to, like any new relationship.  With the limited flying over the winter, this process had taken me quite a while.  The Harrier’s characteristics makes it very easy to get to a ‘good’ set up and its tempting to just leave it.  Combined with the variability of inland flying conditions its easy to convince your self that you’ve got the set up all right or completely wrong.

  My lockdown big spend was the Jeti DS 12 radio, after I decided to ditch the old Multiplex Evo pro.  The first impression in the workshop was the increased servo speed and resolution from the new radio but what about in the air.  The Jeti can do more things and has more options to fiddle with.  Time to start trying some options, snap flap on some different curves, some free mix options and turn off the volume.

  It’s my first new radio in quite a while and the different radio made me feel that I was flying a new model again.  I always liked having differential and elevator DR on the dials with my multiplex, this is still available with the Jeti- but after only a couple of flights the thing that I missed more than anything was the dials clicking as you rotate them.  Between this, cold fingers and the different shaped box I soon got confused and turned this option off.

  Adjustments are going to have to happen on the ground for a while!  This has turned out to be quite a good thing, being forced to flying for longer between adjustments has meant that the Harrier has flown in good bad and indifferent conditions between set up changes.

  The thumbs on the controls haven’t changed but it does feel that I have made some noticeable incremental improvements to the set up.  While it’s not surprising that with the Harrier ballasted up to 4kg, when the lift booms she zooms it’s been great fun to fly it using the Jeti as I get more comfortable with my new relationship.

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Very fresh out of the molds

 The Falcon model is one that I have mentioned a few times, 100 inch wings is a size that I love.  Getting the design and molds right takes time and it feels even longer during lock down.

  The first test model has come out of the molds this week, it still needs cleaning up and surfaces cutting in the pictures!  I have the King max servos ready to drop in as soon as the shipment arrives, Neil at flight Tech I know is really keen to get the models going but they're going to be thoroughly tested before made available.  Getting the Falcon right is very important.

    


Sunday, 14 March 2021

Big air+ Full Ballast= So Much Fun

 The stormy weather of the last few weeks means that you have to be very determined to want to go out on even your local hills.  So I just couldn't help myself, Harrier and Dog both accompanying my on a very lonely hillside, the dog's reservations were made very clear to me but I couldn't help myself.  

  Full ballast on this Harrier is 1.3kg, bringing the total weight to nearly 4kg and after the latest hail storm passed the wind measured just under 40mph (big air and full ballast sorted).  After taking the plunge and buying a Jeti radio I was interested to find out how a delayed snapflap would work but mainly I needed some fun.  The combination of the Jeti radio and the Kingmax servos is fast and responsive on the bench. 

  It was wild, the Harrier covered what felt like miles of sky and handled the conditions probably better than I did, the days of control fade are well and truley over.  With all the new twiddly bits on my radio I had the chance to try putting the snapflap on a curve and even 1mm of reflex. Both had the effect of making the elevator less sensitive around the neutral point (you probably guessed that) and helped to keep things smooth as things built.

  I think my new programming had a positive effect on the speed but with so much energy and variation in the air the only thing you can say for certain is that when the air was good she went like a rocket!  I'm trying not to jump to conclusions after just 1 short session, after a long winter it felt like so much more.  As clubs start to open the chance for more flying and less programming will increase.  






Thursday, 18 February 2021

The building can start

   Not my building- yet but the molds for my smaller 'Falcon' model are finally ready and I hope going into use for the prototype.  It does feel at this has taken a while through the winter months but I'm sure it will be worth it.

  You know that I'll post some pictures as soon as the first wings are pulled out of these but for now.....







 

Monday, 15 February 2021

New Model deliveries

 It's always great to see different colour schemes chosen for Models.  Juan has sent a couple of pictures of his Harrier, after safely arriving in South America.  While he's waiting for the radio gear to arrive I know that the model has been well looked over by a very happy flyer.  Some crisp molding!





 

Saturday, 6 February 2021

Molds are warming up

   I' not sure how your lock down projects are coming on but mine has been slower than I hoped.  The Harrier has proved to be popular and the winter cold for making molds.  Its been great to hear about the other Harriers being built in various workshops- but I want my own toy to build now! 

  All good things come to those who wait and the final 2.5m wing negatives have been baking this week.  I hope that there will be a model to show in the next week or 2, in the mean time....