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  1. Today
  2. A few external shots taken today. It seemed like a good idea at the time....I love James`s wonderful Flybaby Bipe. It really does fly like a full sized plane and I fell in love with it months ago. To have one is an itch I just have to scratch. So I bought a plan from Sarik for a 54" with the intention of having the plan blown up to about a 70" span. Then the plan arrived and I opened the envelope to find it was for an 84" span model with the prototype weighing in without fuel at about 9.7Lbs. Power was from a Super Tiger .61 two stroke glow motor. The cowl used was from a SIG 1/4 scale piper Cub. It didn`t take me long to decide to build this monster and perhaps power it with a Saito 1.20 four stroke unit or similar type engine. There is a used one on eBay presently with two days to run. It is described as recently serviced, in good order and a great starter. Bidding currently stands at £102 plus £7 carriage. Anyway, there is plenty of time before I need an engine. I expect to take at least three months on the air-frame build. I`ll open a separate thread on the project. If the weather is suitable this coming Tuesday, I`d like to maiden the Seagull Flybaby. Watch this space. Mike
  3. "Build" is perhaps the wrong word as the kit is an ARTF so "assembly" is the more accurate word. Collected from Rob on Thursday, the usual retail price of this lovely semi-scale model is £217. It is a very nicely constructed offering from the thriving Vietnamese Seagull company. The parent owner would appear to be SIG. To complete the model you need either a .61 size two stroke or .90 size four stroke I/C engine or electric power set up. In addition, you need radio gear. Other than those items, its all in the box. Value for money, its a lot of nicely constructed model for the dosh. The kit includes a conversion kits. It is your choice whether you go I/C, in which case you use supplied two part engine bearers, fuel tank and a throttle linkage wire and outer sheath. The electric kit comprises an electric motor mounting box is also in the kit. Four M4 bolts allow either the I/C or electric kit to use the same bulkhead blind nuts to secure either of the conversion kits. It is a very cute design and you could convert either way in about half an hour if you wish to do a later conversion. The core of the model was built in about four hours on Thursday. Another five hours were spent on Friday with most of the effort going into manufacture of the dummy rigging wires and end fittings. This was my first effort at rigging and I found it slow and somewhat tedious. It is very fiddly work and you need steady hands and reasonable eye sight to deal with the plastic coated rigging wire and the pre-cut lengths of aluminum crush tube. The tube lengths were rather mean but Rob had previously sold me a length of ali tube so this saved the day. Slightly longer tubes allowed a better finished crimp to be formed. Sixteen lengths of rigging need to be constructed to achieve the full visual effect. That job is perhaps the most difficult aspect of this kit assembly. My rigging effort is reasonable but I would expect to achieve a higher standard with my next effort. Practice makes for a better technique and less frustration as one becomes more adept with the process. The Oracover covering has been well applied at the factory. No issues at all with that. The model is easily assembled using normal hand tools and there are no nasty surprises or irritations within the kit. This kit is a class leader when compared to some of the naff under developed Chinese laser kits which have recently flooded onto the market place. Made ready for flying, the Flybaby took just twenty or so hours to put together. In the 1750mm/70" class, its a lot of model for the money. The finished all up weight is 9.6Lbs. This includes a 50/65 420Kv motor and a 4500mAh lipo together with an appropriate speed controller. I have a dislike of UBEC units having had one burn out on Rob Newmans` counter recently. A five cell 2600 NiMh additional free standing battery pack has been fitted above the electric motor mounting box to provide a separate and stand alone Rx/servo power supply. I find that rather more reassuring than waiting for another UBEC to go up in smoke! The electric motor set up employed on this Flybaby has been snatched from my well known and trusty No 1 Ultra Stick. It is the right spec for the job and utilizes a 15x8 APC prop. I have a 360Kv version of this motor currently installed in another Ultra Stick. This can turn a slightly bigger diameter prop which the Ultra Stick can handle with its taller landing gear. No 1 will be refitted today with that power unit. Would I buy another Seagull offering? Yes, I certainly would. Great price and value for money. Construction is first class and the finished item cuts a good dash. Yet to be flown but not possible to do this Sunday due to the Biggin Hill Airshow, I might nip up to Fickleshole tomorrow or perhaps when some of us gather on Tuesday morning. More on the first flight shortly. Mike
  4. Yesterday
  5. Version 238


    SE Area newsletter issue.238 The South East Regional newsletter is sent regularly to the club and is requested to be circulated to all members. Please read and enjoy as this newsletter comes directly form the BMFA and contains information that affects model flying in your region.
  6. Last week
  7. Hi guys. I`m on the hunt for a good new or used OS 91/95 four stroke for my next project. This is likely to be a Flybaby Bipe similar to the one James flies. PM or call me on 01883625406 if you have a motor you wish to sell. Thanks. Mike Kennedy
  8. Inspired by Jim Beagley`s RCM&E article detailing a Panic build, I just had to have one. Robs design is bullet proof. I suppose every modeller eventually has to have one in their hangar collection. As we know, the model is as simple and functional as it gets. The kit is distributed by J Perkins and produced in Pakistan. The timber grades are first rate and the laser cutting the most accurate I`ve yet seen. The build was a doddle. Not perhaps easy for the first time builder but quickly put together if you have a couple of other model builds under your belt. My total build time was about 75hrs with probably around 12 of those hours being spent on the fiddly colour scheme. You will need to find around £105 for the kit. On top of that, you will need to provide a fuel tank, wheels, control horns, clevises, link rods, cyno hinges, cyno adhesive and quick set epoxy, glass wing tape, typical industrial slow cure laminating epoxy resin, piano wire for control push rods, clevis connectors and a bit of 5/16"dowel for the elevator push rod. You will also need to provide covering film, radio gear, power unit (glow or electric) and servos. My cost tot up comes to around £220 which includes a brand new and un-run SC .75 two stroke motor bought on eBay for just £28 including post. My Panic was completed inside eight days. One wing was built, sheeted and covered in about ten hours. Robs foolproof constructional detailing ensures the wings come off the board, straight, true and flat. The final all up flying weight with seven metal geared servos, without any ballast and with a dry tank came out at 6.9Lb which Rob tells me is acceptable. The colour scheme is a bit manic but apparently good for a Panic. It was Frantically applied by a Moronic....Nuff said! What is the kit like then? Perfectly acceptable in my opinion; simple to build, easy enough to jam full of control gear. Nothing to it really. A nice problem free build with a quick result. Now lets see how it flies..... Mike
  9. A few more images of the finished Bi-stormer. Note my originally upright mounted motor which caused a few issues with the throttle rod which included acute ends at either end. Control wise, it really didn`t make the required grade so I ripped the motor and mount out again and butchered the starboard cowl cheek to allow the motor to be turned by about sixty degrees. This allowed a straight push/pull from servo to throttle arm along the tank floor. The modified installation now functions in a much improved fashion compared to my first attempt. I didn`t want to hack the model around but push became shove and I`m glad I bit the bullet. Whilst my modification is now totally functional rather than aesthetically pleasing, functionality overrides prettiness. I`ve left the top of the cockpit combing open and the starboard cowl cheek has been removed completely. Access to engine mount bolts and the throttle control rod is almost as good as not having a cowl at all. Viewed from the port side, no visual changes are evident. Viewed from the starboard side, whilst the cheek has gone, the effect is of an open and easily serviceable engine installation. Viewed from the front, the upright and chunky cylinder crank case no longer dominates. Twisting the engine to semi side winder configuration actually improves appearance in my opinion. It also lowers the carb spray bar which should help maintain reliable fuel flow. Now finished, the Bi-stormer is ready to fly once I`ve gained some experience on a newly built Panic. The build as a project is for the building enthusiast. I`d estimate I probably spent around the usual 300hrs from start to finish. Was it worth buying the short kit? The short answer is an emphatic negative. I could have saved about £20 cutting out my own wing ribs. (A cut out rib using a template usually only takes me about 3 or 4 minutes a piece. The kit contained pre-cut front to mid section balsa sheet sides. They accounted for little more than a fiver. The laser cut bulkhead were useful but not an essential item. The pre-bent strip ali cabane struts and landing gear were the best features of the so called short kit. Nicely produced, accurate and avoided the need to bend material ones self. Sheet and strip balsa accounted for about another £70. The lovely silver covering came from Hobby King and I price that at about £8. It really is brilliant value for money and is a top class material. Around £23 was paid for a 600mm x 2m roll of orange 021 fluorescent Oracover for the trim. I used every scrap of that roll of covering. The pre-owned motor cost £4, the tank came from stock and five Tower Pro digital servos came for £3.50 each, delivered from China. The pilot came from the smashed Dynam Hurricane. Wing fastenings are 6mm nylon sheer bolts with threaded base mounts. All done and dusted, the model probably cost me £250 to bring to flying condition. I`m certainly pleased with the finished article. All that now remains is to fly the thing. Colour changes in the attached images are due to some images being taken under florescent light, whilst others were taken in natural daylight. Believe me, the orange is all the same colour! Mike
  10. Earlier
  11. Pilot Ben

    Rod Hunt

    FOR SALE - Rod Hunt ex-CAMFC member Wots Wot ARTF - flown around three times, comes in perfect condition ready to fly, has good quality gear along with a Saito gold head four stroke, run only a few times. Offers? Funtana ARTF - Never flown, comes with servos and four stroke engine, along with spare canopy, wings, cowling and tail feathers. Offers? Thousands of items from an ex-modellers workshop - including hundreds of tools, thousands of parts, fixings and spares, transmitters, servos, receivers, materials, etc. Buyer to collect what they want from Old Coulsdon with prior arrangement with myself and Mrs Hunt. Pay what you feel the items are worth, as Mrs Hunt would rather give them away using an "honest box" scheme to a good home where they will be used! Sold as seen, please comment or message me for details. Thank you for looking!
  12. At last I finally finished building the Firefly after loosing the plywood motor mount which fell into the abyss of junk in the model workshop! I used servo,s reclaimed from a deceased Wot-4 foamie with wire pushrods, a 22D-28 electric motor with a pusher 7 x 5 propeller. the ESC i used to begin with was an 18A, but the motor complained and could only fly with 1/2 throttle. A larger ESC available was rated 35A, and this cured the problem. The Firefly hand launches with a grip on the outer wing and half throttle, Just bung it slightly skyward, and once airborne and stable, increase the throttle until some height is gained, making it possible to trim the controls for SAL flight. The model is great fun to fly and runs on a 3 cell 1300 Lipo for quite some time. Flights at zero height are very possible and quite fun, some aerobatics are possible, but be careful not to rip the fin off! Firefly kits may be available from Rob at Avicraft, Chatterton road, Bromley, Kent. It might be prudent to check stock before travelling. Have flying fun, Oily
  13. Here is a link to a little video our Ivan Smith kindly filmed and kindly put together having shot one of my flights with Ultra Stick No1 with a lead ballasted six cell 3700 LiPo, a 5065-420Kv motor and 15x6 prop. This is the model I`ve been consistently flying since April this year. Thanks to Dave Bran for watching my antics closely and observing that the model does indeed fly in a somewhat tail down attitude....I`ll try a spot more lead at the next flying session. These flights were filmed on an almost totally windless day and approach speeds are a little high. My final flight that day used about three quarters of available flap deployment and certainly slowed down the arrivals. Yip, I need more practice using flaps and there is still a mass to be learned. It all takes time. Anyway here is the video and thanks to Ivan for filming it.https://youtu.be/L6vphFPwPrA Mike
  14. Well. The ASP factory has indeed closed down, and will not be reopened. That said, I believe (?) that SC and Evolution engines will continue to be made in other factories, however their supply will obviously be affected. 4.14kg does seem quite a weight, however this isn't that small of a model, and looking at the extremely solid construction, I wouldn't say that 4kg seems too unreasonable. Going with metal geared servos will pay off, Mike. I run metal gears in nearly all of my models, partially due to the fact I prefer the slightly more robust servos in the air, but mainly because I'm fed up of stripping gears when I knock a control surface! Mark Knopfler is indeed one of the greats, and indeed his new tour is very impressive with regards to band members and himself! Personally I'm just about to finish learning the first solo in Sultans of Swing, and I'm excited to move on to the second!
  15. Thank you for your kind comments, Dear Boy. Nice to have some encouragement even though I`m only sixty one! With apologies for the late evening image quality and the total chaos shown in the images, here are a few more shots of the now rapidly completing build. I only took these ten minutes ago having spent the day covering the wings. More bright orange trim is due to aid my now degenerating eye sight... To answer your AUW question Ben, with just the receiver, 2600NiMh power pack, piano control wires/clevises and light weight inter-plane struts still to be added, the current kite weight is 9.1Lbs/4.14Kg. This figure includes five metal gear servos which account for a monstrous 10oz weight penalty. Fitting nylon gear servos would knock about 5oz off the total. Yes, it is a tad heavier than I`d like but I`m known for building flying bricks with high landing speeds. Shown in the images is the £4 auction sourced, used but in great apparent condition, SC60. If it runs well, it will be a total bargain. All the above done to the strains of Mark Knopfler on his latest tour. His band just get better and better. I saw him at the Albert Hall with one of my daughters about ten years ago and we came away rocking. Since then, all the model building has been done with his magic belting out constantly. He hand picks the Worlds finest players and it shows. I never tire of his riffs and guitar licks and the long hours of building go faster as a result.Mix - Mark Knopfler Done With Bonaparte 14 juillet 2019 St Julien En Genevois YouTube • I`m due to collect the Panic kit from Rob on Tuesday. This gives me the chance to finish the Bi-stormer and grab any further parts I may need at the same time. For those that didn`t see the June 2019 edition of RCM&E magazine, Jim Beagley has his review article included on a Panic build. This is the JP kit produced and distributed by Perkins in India with permission from Rob. This was what finally pushed me to get hold of one. Mine will have a brand new and unused SC.75 two stroke which came to me for £26 via eBay. It seemed a good punt for the money and needs a flying home. The SC 60 and 75 share the same crank case castings and dimensions so this makes inter-changeability a doddle. I recently heard that SC/ASP motors were no longer going to be produced. Can anyone confirm? That`s it for tonight. Mike
  16. Looking great! It's also nice to see a good helping of fuel proofing/lacquer/epoxy at the front. Far too many ARTF manufacturers and even builders rely solely on the covering for fuel proofing, and it's always a shame to see the covering peel back to reveal a soggy and crumbly firewall! I also look forward to seeing the panic build; they really are amazing models, and I'm interested to see how they come together construction wise. Oh, and I really like the chosen colour scheme! It gives a different feel than the drab schemes adorning many builds, but yet still manages to capture that retro feel
  17. It progresses well. Wings built now and covering in progress. The build time has stretched a bit due to my Father being laid up in East Surrey Hospital and having to drive down there several times a day. I see I started construction of this Bi-stormer about five weeks ago so even those commitments the build hasn`t been that slow. Images here show where I am currently with this model. Can`t wait to fly it!! More in due course. The next build is JP Panic which I`m due to collect from Rob shortly. Mike
  18. As part of a major workshop clear-out I am selling a number of items gathered over the years which, for various reasons, I didn't get around to using. I am happy to consider any reasonable offer for any, or all, of the following:- Servos:- 1 x Hitec HS-225BB 1 x Hitec HS-85BB 1 x Hitec HS-7115TH 3 x Hitec HS-81 2 x Turnigy TGY 9018MG (With original packaging and accessories) Brushless motors:- 1 x BRC CF2822 (1200Kv) 3 x Turnigy DST-1200 ESCs:- 3 x GWS GWESC 25A 1 x Wasp 12A 1 x Jeti ECO 12A 1 x "No name" 12A Radio:- 1 x Spektrum AR600 reciever 1 x Eagletree "Guardian" stabiliser 3 x V-tail mixer Lipos:- 2 x Overlander 2S 1600mah 25C Miscellaneous:- 1 x Align TREX painted canopy (700/800) 1 x Myskies "Wingman" kit 1 x "Model Glasses Nimbus" with 3 pairs (two of which polarised) lenses (These have been used - but I now need a prescription!!) 1 x Ducted IC Fan/Engine Best Regards, =Adrian=
  19. Ask me in a week, Ben! Difficult to tell weight yet as the wings are still to be made. The fuselage seems light enough even with the three MG996 metal gear standard servos installed. I nipped over to Robs this morning to collect the usual nick-nacks needed ie control horns, engine mount, poppers for press fit inter-plane struts, ball links for aileron push rods and a nice second hand ali spinner. That has rubbed up very nicely. The model is a great traditional build with loads of stringers and a fair amount of block work to shape. Its very rewarding to see it all coming together so quickly. I have a good feeling about this model and I`m confident it will fly very nicely. Emma and I joked that this model is a "James model". As we know, he loves the vintage stuff. I took a shine to his Fly-Baby bi-plane some time back. I`ve not yet found a plan for one yet but would love to build one. I found a Balsa USA kit for $365 plus shipping, import VAT and extra delivery charges this end. Obviously this was impossible to justify, hence the building of this Bi-stormer at a rather less dramatic price. More on this build when I have some further progress made and images taken. Mike
  20. That looks very smart Mike! Do you know yet what the rough AUW could be?
  21. My latest build. This is the 60" Bi-stormer from the late David Boddingtons` drawing board. Essentially the model is a Barnstormer with two wings. The design is about fifty years old and is much loved as a medium sized, soft floater for balmy summer evening flying. Images below show progress made to date. A 72" version is also available but is a little too big for my storage and transport convenience. Build costs also escalate the bigger a model is. I found that out to my cost during the Midwest Extra build. I bought the DB Sport and Scale kit last week direct from the makers in Wales. The kit is very much a "short" production type at £110 delivered. Delivery/production took about a week. DB Sport has changed hands several times since the late David Boddington sold it on. The kit is not really a true kit when compared to modern offerings. Much of it is "missing". You get a plan, dural landing gear and cabane struts, pre-cut sheet balsa fuselage sides, a few ply bulkheads, two wing rib packs and a few other assorted air-frame parts. It is all very basic indeed but what do you expect for the money after the producer has made some profit? The traditional construction of the model is sticks, twigs, sheet and the odd bit of ply. Building the kit is rather like constructing a Keil Craft Super 60. To complete the model it is necessary to purchase wing sheeting, leading and trailing edge material and balsa square section for the fuselage longitudinal members together with control horns and snakes, wheels, collects, coverings, etc. By the time you have all the parts together, you are looking at about £240 as a finished model. Price wise, a pre-covered ARTF makes better financial sense but I wanted a nice model to scratch (or nearly scratch) build so obtaining a near ready to fly model wasn`t an issue or was value for money much of a consideration. Perhaps price wise as a kit, its probable value is little more than £70. The extra £40 can be regarded as the makers slender profit for getting it into a box and flinging it in the post! This type of cottage industry produced kit will always be quirky and relatively basic. It is what it is and it ain`t what it ain`t! So you accept what it is and get on with the build. The build is quick and easy once you have rounded up all the extra required timber scantlings. The majority of construction has been done with Screwfix CA adhesive or Toolstation 4 minute epoxy. Both products are as cheap as it gets and have become my favoured adhesives. I don`t use much alaphatic white glue but when I do, I`ve used Gorilla Glue which seems to set up quickly and is water resistant. I usually do between eight and ten hours building each day. The fuselage and tail feathers have therefore taken about seventy hours work. It is not so much the volume building that takes the time but the attention to detail. That said the experience of building this model to date is very pleasing. It is a pretty little bi-plane which is known to fly extremely well. I now have to build the wings and cover the whole model. I envisage about another one hundred hours needed for that. If all goes well, the model should be capable of flying within the next three weeks subject to all continuing to progress well. Elevators and rudder are a little larger than standard. Many builders have said the larger elevators help when it comes to three pointing the model when landing. The top wing will loose its dihedral in favour of a flat wing. Ailerons are also described as a little non reactive so I expect to increase size slightly and perhaps to include ailerons on both wings. Advice will be sought from Rob Newman today when I go over to Bromley for further building supplies. Colour scheme? Not really thought about yet but the model has strong likenesses to the Stearman. I do quite fancy a silver machine with white and red checker and RAF markings. Pre-war the University Air Squadron operated Tiger Moths and Hawker bi-planes at airshows of the period. Essentially those guys were the forerunners of the Red Arrows. If you know the Shuttleworth Tiger Moth, then you will have some idea of what I have in mind. Power will come from the auction sourced £4 SC.61 which is now in fine order having had its carburetor cleaned out and a missing needle valve spring replaced. Compression is excellent and it is quite clear this motor hasn`t seen much action. It is the right size and "shape" for this model but if power is marginal, then I have a brand new ASP.75 which has identical external sized components to the SC.61. Both motors were built in the same Chinese factory but are just badge engineered as an SC or an ASP. The dead Dynam Hurricane pilot has been resuscitated and lives to fight another day in this model. Harry Hawker flies again! The remains of his air-frame have donated a bullet-proof windshield which fits the top deck to perfection. More on this model as it progresses. Mike.
  22. I already have one, Ben, although it is a scratch built version! Images below. I scaled the 10cc model up by 33.3% and it made an appearance at last years model competition evening at one of the CAMFC monthly gatherings. At that time it was unfinished but I think it was the model that landed me a trophy at the February AGM. I recall I won three awards for the pile of models I brought along but can`t recall which one exactly won the trophy. That said, I`m pretty sure it was the big Ultra Stick that did it!! It is a big bruiser and probably somewhat heavier than an original kit version. It weighs in at some 14Lb with the wing and metal geared servos accounting for about 4Lb of the total all up dry flying weight. It is a tad heavy aft of CoG and I put that down to an over heavy build at the tail end plus only having an SC1.08 on the front. Lead has had to be added. I think power might be marginal so when I get back to that model again, I`ll be looking for something like a cheapo Mokki 1.40 which might help get weight and balance under better control. The genuine big 30cc model flies like a witch. There is a Youtube vid around which shows a fella called Azza flying the nuts off the thing. Although it is a big model, it seems to do everything its smaller brother does without difficulty. The most popular motors seem to be around 35cc and are petrol four stroke. There we go. Mike
  23. Congratulations on passing your A test, Mike! The Stick looks good, despite it's little skirmish with the tree. I wonder, does the Hangar 9 30cc Ultra Stick appeal?
  24. I thought it might be of some interest to others to read about my very positive experience of working towards and taking my A-test with CAMFC. Some of my modelling background here then. Back in the 1970`s, I started my modelling journey with the encouragement of my Father. We had hooked up with several other local modellers through my Fathers links with the construction industry. Two of his business contacts were keen RC flyers. Father was an architect, Geoff Swafield was a quantity surveyor and Brian Kilner was a building company director. The three of them decided to set up a new flying club based on the open and accessible games field behind the Riddlesdown Secondary School. Father became founder Hon Sec, Geoff became Chairman and Brian was Treasurer. I assume they sought permission to fly from that field from the authorities. That was back in 1972 and I was about fourteen at the time. The field was large and flat and proved ideal for the purpose. New members were quickly accumulated and we forged strong links with the Epsom Club. Seemingly the favoured model flown was the Super 60 trainer which was often powered by an HP.61 and modified to have an aileron wing with little or no dihedral. Radio gear was frequently 27Mhz Skyleader Clubman in four or six channel format and servicing, radio and spare radio parts were easily sourced from Skyleader who occupied part of the control tower at Croydon Airport. Our local model shop was in South Croydon where the lovely Ted Setterfield operated Heset Model Supplies. The second local retailer were the Hooper brothers who had a high street shop in Caterham on the Hill. The Hoopers were heavily involved with the Caterham MFC and our James remembers them well. The tenure behind the Riddlesdown school didn`t last long. Inevitably noise issues killed use of the site. A move took us south to a field behind the then Noble Lowdes(?) Insurance company playing field between Hamsey Green and Warlingham. Essentially, the field was little more than a quarter of a mile further up the road towards Warlingham from the current CAMFC meeting venue at Trenham Drive. The field was closely bordered by trees which we hoped would control noise issues. Sadly not. About a year after taking occupation, we were on the move south again to a field immediately next door to the now Knights Garden Centre. Again noise got us, a court case ensued and was lost. Off we went again. This time to another enclosed field half a mile east of "The Bull" on Chelsham Green. Within a few years the field was lost due to the local owner wishing to change its use. That was around 1979. Father and I dropped out of the modelling scene for a couple of years due to having taken on the mammoth task of building a house. I was soon to move away from the area to pursue a career in the PR, marine and aviation industries. Sadly, becoming married, having children, getting divorced and following other interests took me away from modelling for around forty four years. Father has kept his links with the Riddlesdown Club and I have indeed joined it once again. Now flying from a site below Edenbridge, the site is some sixteen miles distant from my current home at Warlingham. That journey doesn`t sound far but for me, it is a fair hike in a car which I don`t enjoy due to having a collapsed and herniated lower lumbar and raging sciatica down my right leg. Pain levels become uncomfortable and that trip to the site and back is not nice. It suits me better to be a CAMFC member which is just ten minute journey. My thanks go to Rob Newman and our wonderful Emma for roping me into CAMFC in April 2018. Problems with my ailing Father meant I didn`t do much flying in 2018. I built a 47" Mini Super with which I infrequently staggered around the Fickleshole skies re-learning basic flying techniques from forty four years ago. It has been a steep learning curve. Whilst the flying came back easily, I had to get my teeth into electric power and the advancements of 2.4Ghz radio technology. I soon learned that the hobby was far more regulated than it was forty years ago and the emphasis was on safety and the latest Dft/CAA requirements. It quickly became obvious that gaining an A-test was a vital part of modern day model flying requirements both from the legislative aspects and to ensure maximum safety at flying sites. If I wanted to progress the hobby, then I had work to do. Having satisfied the Club Committee that I could fly to BMFA and local Club rules, the A-test learning curve began in April this year and in May I piled the flights on to gain the experience necessary. In addition I boned up on the 23 BMFA oral questions together with our local club rules and also studied the BMFA handbook and the CAP658 CAA publication. As much time and effort went into that as attempting to learn what was required for the practical A-test flying examination. As far as the oral questions were concerned, committing them to memory really wasn`t difficult for me but one did have to pick out the operative information contained therein. To achieve this I read the questions on a three times daily basis for about ten days before the test, but most importantly, wrote it all out by hand on four sheets of A4 paper. This learning technique was taught to me at a CAA licensed training "agency" ie Brunel Technical College in Bristol between 1993 and 1996 where I studied for Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineers certification under Section A8-20 of the Air Navigation Order. (As an aside, the nick name of the didactic Head of School was "Ponchas the Pilot"!) Manually writing out all those questions by hand helps the brain absorb the material into the "Ownership and Possession" part of ones brain. Once you mentally take ownership of the material, then it is more likely to hit and stick to the little grey cells. Writing things out on paper by hand helps focus the mind and provides you with a regular "refresh" by quizzing yourself when coming up to examination time. The human brain is fully capable of achieving a good degree of retention provided you are interested in the subject and are capable of holding and compartmentalizing information. Carried out in a relaxed fashion, learning need not be difficult and it can be quite surprising what you have retained even years after you did a cramming session. At Aero School, I soon found myself developing a sharpened mind which seemed to open up and become more absorbent the more I studied. So with the A-test oral material, I found I enjoyed learning and that gave me the confidence when it came to oral examination. It pleased me greatly to answer the questions from Trevor and only on a couple of occasions did I have to dredge deeper through my mental filing system to come up with an answer. I always regard my own mind as infinitely expandable but operating in a slightly clunky fashion similar to lap top running Windows XP......it gets there eventually but that is sufficient for the purpose! As far as the A-test flights were concerned, I was operating at a level of less than full confidence. On the Sunday before the test, I was confident of a pass under coming test conditions on the Tuesday. I`d flown reasonably well in front of around twenty club members that afternoon and managed three consecutive dead stick landings on the pitch. I felt good and happy and was clearly primed and ready for the test. Next day (Monday) the wind had dropped to nothing and any that there was came from the North West rather than from the East. I knew that landings would be faster than on Sunday and that I`d have to work a bit harder to set the model up for the finals approaches between the two trees at the Biggin Hill end of the landing patch. I managed a couple of good flights but on my third landing l lost concentration for a moment and caught the model on the lower bough on the right side of the huge model eating oak tree! The Ultra Stick lodged in the tree for a couple of seconds before dropping flat to the ground. The damage to the tail, a wing tip, a wing leading edge and a displaced wing/fuselage mount was enough to cause me nine hours of frantic repairs and a consequential loss of built up confidence. Next day, I flew a test flight to confirm the model was good again but I certainly had the jitters. I could have cried off taking the test but I decided to continue regardless. (Get back on the horse that threw you attitude.) I`m a pretty emotionless person and refused to let the tree incident get a strangle hold on me. Never the less, my flying no doubt showed signs of nervousness. Trevor was the examiner and was typically he was his usual encouraging self and showed sympathy for my dose of jitters. I was chuffed to bits to hear I had passed the test and on the way home bought a chilled bottle of Pinot to enjoy in a deck chair on the patio. In the afternoon, I fell asleep, rather exhausted but very happy..... Saturday saw me attend the Sevenoaks fly in/barbecue. I flew three flights and began to feel the confidence return. It became obvious that the more elapsed time and the more flying I put in between the tree smash and my later flights, the sooner I would begin to forget about the incident. I know that almost everyone finds that oak tree at some time so the best thing to do is just put it down to experience and laugh it off. These things happen. The A-test examination occurred fairly quickly for me. I had the advantage of learning to fly models when still a teenager. Even forty years later, the skills had stayed with me and just needed polishing up again. I suppose the run up to the test took me about six weeks and in the final week I attempted to fly almost every day dependent on suitable weather conditions. At all times I was conscious that the Club had given me the total responsibility of my own actions which included adherence to CAP658, the content of the BMFA guidelines, BMFA questions and also those local rules of our Club. Trevor Searle who kindly nurtured my journey towards the test was consulted when ever I required advice and I listened intently to his advice if I was seen to have strayed off the track. I`m immensely grateful for his quiet, careful and watchful tutelage and his regular appraisal of my progress. As a pupil it is important that one listens to ones mentor and then takes the steps necessary to advance to the next stage or correct errors in procedure if they become evident. Trevors` unflappable temperament instills instant confidence and I can`t thank him enough for his time and efforts on my behalf. As I was a returning flyer after a 44 year break, I surmised that my reappearance on the modelling scene would probably be at a low intermediate level. That recognized, I began to look for a suitable air-frame for the A-test training regime. Knowing that I would need a tough model and one that I could easily repair myself, I discounted most of the ARTF/PNP foamy offerings. They can look a dreadful mess after multiple repairs and in any case, I really don`t seem able to bond with a model that I have not built myself. I was looking for a laser cut ply and balsa model that was capable of absorbing a huge amount of punishment on the lead up to taking the test. In my internet search, the Hanger 9 Ultra Stick 10cc quickly gained my interest. Whilst the H9 kit is ARTF, there was enough work needed from myself to enable me to bond with the model and make it "mine". Now having six of these models, some of which are scratch built copies, I can usually build an H9 kit example in abut nine hours. That the US was a product off the design board of Ali Machinchy gave the model some serious credentials. Sales videos confirmed that the model could be used as a benign advanced trainer but could also operate as something akin to a flying witch on a broomstick. There was no opposition or competition really. At £207 delivered from Als Hobbies (Ali Macs` fathers model shop in Milton Keynes) all that was needed to complete the kit to flying condition was the power system, radio receiver, suitable Lipos, an ESC and six standard servos. In my case, I asked George Worley at 4-max to spec and supply the power system. George sent me a 70a ESC, a 5065-420Kv motor, a 3700mAh lipo, a 14x8 prop (15x8 found to be better) and a motor program card. That package came out at around £270 so it wasn`t particularly cheap. Savings could be made by buying cheaper gear or going the i/c route with a .60 size or larger two stroke glow motor. Would the Ultra Stick be suitable for a raw ab initio student pilot? Perhaps not.....a new flyer really needs a couple of cheap and cheerful PNP models on which to cut his flying teeth. I`d say for a beginner, he really needs a relatively valueless model that can be bashed and smashed without fear of having to find over £200 each time the model gets hit hard enough to make it a bin bag job. Training thrills and spills can and do happen! There are plenty of cheap trainer models around and the possible the demise of a cheapy shouldn`t cause too many tears before bedtime. My suggestion for a newbie pilot would be to take advice from his tutor in respect of selecting a low value tool to fly until basic flying skills are attained. Once that is achieved, moving onto a more expensive model such as the Ultra Stick could then become a sensible progression. A newcomer to the hobby is almost certainly best taught using a buddy box lead and two similar linked transmitters. Once a reasonable standard of proficiency has been reached, then I believe it is essential that the the newbie flyer gains flying time off the buddy box system. It is one thing flying with a tutor having master control with one transmitter and the novice being on the end of the buddy lead with the slave transmitter. It is quite another thing flying off the buddy box system as one progresses to flying solo. As a newbie progresses to flying solo, he should also have studied and taken on board the contents of CAP658, the BMFA guidelines and questions and the local club rules. At our Croydon Club progressing to a level of basic proficiency leading to the A-test allows the novice flyer to fly off the buddy box system as part of the learning curve once reasonable proficiency has been reached. At other Clubs, the regime is not so helpful and one is tied into the buddy box system until the day of the test. I don`t think that is particularly helpful as it could come as something of a shock to suddenly find oneself off the buddy box in one swift moment. I think our Croydon Club operates an excellent policy of allowing you to fly solo and off the buddy lead before you take the A-test and I`ve been very grateful for that. It has meant that I could visit the Fickleshole site alone and get some true solo experience and practice achieved before submitting to examination under test conditions. My next target is obviously the B-test. Subject to test flights and confirmation that the model is suitable, my plan is to use my low wing version (conversion) of the H9 Ultra Stick. This is simply a standard 60" Ultra Stick modified by turning the fuselage upside down, correcting side thrust, adding a couple of inches of dihedral and re-locating the landing gear. That is for the future after progressing flying skills to the test standard. So thanks again to Trevor for his time and assistance. The picture below shows us together immediately after my A-test and was sent to me by Ivan Smith. The other image is of my Ultra Stick low wing conversion which might make a good model for B-test flying. Mike K
  25. An update on flying my No 1 Ultra Stick. This is an original built in June last year which first flew in the hands of Steve Fysh last November at the Riddlesdown MFC site below Edenbridge. The model was proclaimed as all good with pleasant handling, nice landing characteristics but performance wise was not that quick on the 6 cell, 420Kv and 14x8 prop. This model and several others built since November languished in my hanger awaiting the onset of nicer weather. The model flew again in mid April 2019 at Riddlesdown with me being passed the transmitter on that second flight. After a 44 year break from the hobby, I found no control difficulty but was obviously a tad rusty with technique. That didn`t stop me making several good flights with take offs and landings not causing any real issues other than learning the finals landing positioning. I was quickly doing "touch and goes" and received a dedicated two training flights off the buddy box to fine up on technique and to start to prepare me for the A-test. A prop change at that time to a 15x8 proved beneficial to performance and lead sheet was added as nose ballast when using a lighter 1.2Lb 3700 Lipo. This shifted nose weight forward and alleviated a tail down flying attitude. When using a 4500 lipo weighing 1.5Lb, additional nose ballast was not required. If I were to offer further opinion on this, I`d say it might be prudent to move internal fuselage mounted rudder and elevators forward as far as possible towards the CofG position with the relatively light 5065-420Kv or 360Kv electric motor set up. Installing a large lipo in the nose makes reasonable sense but space is somewhat cramped with a 4500 unit. As regards suitability for an A-test, No1 Ultra Stick fitted the task to perfection. I worked solidly for two weeks attempting to fly every day at Fickles hole. Dear Trevor made a benign and very encouraging tutor, initially flying the Stick to get the feel for it, then passing control over to me using a second compatible Futaba transmitter with buddy box lead. I requested this action as the Fickeshole flying site is about one sixth of the size of that found at the Riddlesdown field down below Edenbridge at Mark Beech. I had the jitters about initially flying the Stick myself as it was somewhat larger than the 47" Mini Super I cut my teeth on when flying from Fickleshole in late 2018. The first flight under Trevors` experienced guidance went well, indeed I even managed a passable landing. Suitably reassured, I then did a second flight by buddy box with Trevor getting finger ache by having to permanently hold the master Tx transfer switch up for so long. The next flight had me doing take-offs, "touch and goes" and several more landings. Trevor said I was good to go solo, so off I went again with confidence and technique again improving by the moment. Then followed the two weeks of concerted effort to learn the A-test schedule and bone up on the 32 questions on the BMFA syllabus and fully drumming in the CAMFC local rules found in the Club joining pack. To memorize the BMFA questions, I hand copied onto four sheets of A4 paper both the questions and the answers. In this way it forced the contents into my mind and I took "possession and ownership" of the content. This methodology was learned when I studied at Brunel College in Bristol twenty six years ago for a Civil Aviation Authority Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineers qualification. (LAME) The method worked well enough for me all those years back so I saw no reason why it should not work again. Repeated scanning of those question and our local Club rules helped greatly when on test day, Trevor quizzed me for answers. So what makes the Ultra Stick such a good candidate for A and possibly B-test use? Firstly the model is exceptionally resistant to damage. It shrugs off heavy landings, has a wide flight envelope encompassing the ability to fly very slowly especially with just a little flap deployed. It is also aerobatic, will fly rolling circles and 3D in the right hands. It is apparently capable of flying with a two stoke .46 up to and including a Saito R3 19cc petrol radial! I`ve only had one mishap due to a momentary loss of concentration when attempting a landing in flat calm conditions from the Biggin Hill end of the site. Frustratingly, the large oak tree in the corner marched out and grabbed the model! The Stick lodged in a bough for a couple of seconds before dropping horizontally twenty feet to the ground. Damage was confined to a slightly damaged starboard leading edge, a crumpled wing tip, the tail-plane knocked off, the wing/fuselage mount torn out and several minor dings. Nine hours of frantic repair work had the model ready again in time to take the A-test the next day. I can`t admit anything else other than to say I suffered a confidence drop following the tree incident. I flew a check flight with the Stick first thing on the Tuesday morning. The jitters had returned but the Ultra Stick remained docile and forgiving of my somewhat shaky flying during the test. Undoubtedly, the most difficult task to perform during the A-test is the dead stick landing. I`d practiced this task many times during my run up to test day and out of the fifteen or so dead stick attempts done during practice, only three of them resulted in my landing short in the rough. At least that gave me some experience of dead stick landings and I`m glad I put the effort into attempting to get that aspect of the test well ingrained. The Ultra Stick took a severe pounding during those attempts at forced landings but apart from sustaining a slightly bent rear motor cruciform mount, it came through unscathed. Had I used an old Super Sixty for similar training, I`m sure it would have gone home as a nylon covered pile of matchwood. It simply wouldn`t have taken the punishment. On the day of the test and the dead stick demonstration, I hit the pitch nicely at about a quarter of the way along the strip and finished the roll out without running into the high field crop. The Ultra Stick looks after you in the air and tolerates speedy arrivals with aplomb. I have two people to thank for helping me obtain the A-test. My sincere thanks go to Trevor Searle for his tolerance, patience and time input during the past couple of months. Trevor is totally unflappable and is a master at gauging pupil aptitude and instilling enthusiasm and quiet correction where necessary. I made mistakes along the A-test journey but Trevor helped with timely and effective correction. So a very big thanks are extended to him. I`m deeply grateful. At a distance in Illanois, I have also voiced my thanks to Ali Machinsky and Hanger 9 for producing such a cost effective, robust and totally bullet proof model. My No 1 Stick has done me proud and I can only say that if you are looking for a docile model to complete an A-test, the the 60" Ultra Stick ticks all the boxes. It does what it says on the tin and the videos of Alis` prototypes demonstrate model capability. Cheers, guys. Thank you all too for your help and encouragement. The image below of Trevor and I together following the test was kindly sent to me by Ivan Smith. Mike
  26. Spitfire in near miss at Biggin Hill https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-48413109
  27. Here for sale i have my models and gear Weston mini Magnum complete with tuned 36 nitro engine, spektrum AR6210 RX with Sat and new Nimh 2300mah battery. Hitec HS-625MG and HS-65MG servos. Engine is a screamer! EFX racer complete with Zippy 35c 1800 battery and Spektrum AR6100 RX with factory servos. Some spares included. Very very fast! I have setup the ESC to give some 'Engine Breaking' as per the ESC instructions as this really does require flaps. Trex600 electric with Zippy 25c 5800 battery, Assualt 600 motor, Spektrum AR7000 Rx and Sat, Align GP750 gyro. 100A ESC has just blown so good for spares and damage to the carbon frame but still flies. Turnigy TGY-4409MD, Align DS615 servos. Trex600 Nitro FBL, beautiful clean machine. BeastX requires setup and has new Reaction 20c 5000mah Lipo battery. OS Max 55 motor and carbon main blades. On board glow start. Futaba S9256, S31525 servos. AR7000 RX with Sat. Avicraft Panic biplane. Needs TLC. Comes with Futaba S3004 and FP-S148 servos. Also a trip was made to Avicraft to buy new parts so engine mount, servo links, aileron links, fuel tank, wheels and all sorts were bought to fix this up after the previous owner crashed it. Fuel also included and MDS68 engine was bought but turns out to be a non runner so good for spares. Spektrum DX8 TX with charger and manuals. Optimix 20% fuel, Duraglow 16 fuel, carry case, glow start and charger, JP fuel pump, Imax B6 charger and leads with Ally carry case. Im happy for this to go as a set or individually and open to offers. More photos can be sent if required Also a full balsa laser cut kit of Hannos MAGIC 60 with plans and fibreglass canopy and cowel up for offers
  28. In mid April 2019, I took the Ultra Stick theme further. I began construction of a high wing, twin engine version. The project has been interesting with development occurring around a loose plan based on Ali Machinchys` Hanger 9 model. My twin is completely scratch built with the exception of an original Hanger 9 landing gear. Two fuselages were constructed in the first week. As I was to dimension and cut one set of fuselage parts, it seemed sensible to make an additional spare for future use. It can either be used as a replacement item in the event of irreparable breakage of one of my other Ultra Sticks, or can be used for another Ultra Stick build project. The twin uses a standard section wing rib taken from an original wing when I built the low wing version. Each wing rib was cut by hand from 3mm balsa rather than hard to work plywood. Each wing rib took me about eight minutes using the original rib as a template and cutting with a sharp scalpel blade. As a batch, the collection of ribs were dimension checked to ensure uniformity prior to inclusion in the wing build. A standard wing has 17 ribs. My twin version has had the wing stretched by 180mm ie 90mm/one extra panel on each wing half and uses a total of 25 wing ribs together with a slightly thickened 3mm x approximately 1700mm long. ply main spar. The spar has a vertical depth of 31mm . All ribs and spar components notch together to form a strong, accurate and warp free structure. Notch cutting in front and main spars is fiddly and time consuming but it is worth the effort. A plated dove tail joint joins the two wing spar components together with the joint being off centre of the mid point of the wing. The extra ribs replace lost wing area as a result of the twin version employing two 90mm wide engine nacelles. Essentially, the nacelles are two front sections of a standard Ultra Stick fuselage. The sides extend up into the wing and the tops are shaped as a standard wing rib. In other words, the nacelles form part of the wing structure rather than just being glued to the bottom of the wing. Ailerons are also stretched in length but flaps remain at standard size. The construction was fairly complex and time consuming and took me a good three weeks of concerted effort. Total build time has been about one month in total. A standard scratch built Ultra Stick by comparison usually takes me a just a couple of weeks. The fin and tail feathers have also been stretched by a proportional amount to match the new proportions of the twin wing. The model is now fitted with two OS Max 46SF two stroke glow motors. Sadly, they do not contra-rotate. One very low time motor was sourced in the UK, the other is brand new and unused but I had to source from the USA to find a good unit. The two motors then, probably cost me about £85 for the pair. One will be known as "Essex", the other as "Miami"! The wing stretch and weight of two motors has increased the final all up dry weight to 10.8Lb. That is about 5Kg. The fuselage only houses two metal gear servos for elevator and rudder together with a Futaba FS617 RX and a five cell, 2600NiMh battery. Cof G was easily obtained even with elevator and rudder metal geared servos tail mounted. For interest, eight metal geared standard servos weigh just over one pound. They are not light weight objects. Each motor with prop and silencer weighs just over a pound. The wing is extremely nose heavy with motors fitted even though the four MG aileron and flap servos are mounted aft of the CofG in the wing. The Cof G was easily set at a slightly forward position by placing the 2600 NiMh power pack right up against the front bulk head. ie the bulkhead to which the motor would normally be bolted. The nacelles also house two eight ounch Du-bro tanks and two mini servos for throttle control. Standard silencers are fitted. This model will obviously require noise testing. Overall, this model weighs about two pounds more than a standard Ultra Stick. Ali Mac built one of his prototype models with a Saito R3 radial spark ignition motor. That motor weighs about the same as my two OS motors. As a consequence of the heavy weight, Ali also mounted the rudder and elevator servos in the tail. I surmise my twin version probably weighs around the same as Alis` Saito version....hence the use of us both using the tail end servos to achieve a reasonable CofG. A nose cone is nylon sheer bolted to the centre fuselage. In these images, the cone appears rather long and may well get cut back in length. It is easier to cut a lump off rather than to retro fit additions. Getting the length looking right has been a challenge. I`ll get it up to the field and take others opinion on the matter. Then I can get the saw out again and hack a lump off! Members pointed me towards James as the test pilot. When asked, James responded well to the suggestion. So it now remains for me to set the model up and ensure engine reliability. Advice suggests I should fit a gyro on the rudder to assist in the event of an engine failure. That seems to be a good idea! Anyway, here are the images of the build and the finished model. Comments, as always, appreciated. Ignore the images of the tri-motor on No 3 fuselage. That just happened to be a fuselage I had to hand when I trial fitted the wing for the first time! A tri-motor...well that might be an interesting future project...... How many Ultra Sticks in the hanger now? Five and a half smaller versions and one complete scratch built 80" monster..... What next on the Ultra Stick theme....perhaps a canard, a bi-plane or even a tri-plane. Watch this thread! Mike K
  29. Rich

    Fun Fly Day

    Fun Fly Day at North Kent Nomads on the 26th May, on the Darenth Valley Path which runs from the Dartford Marshes up to the River Thames. Its going to be a day of Fun Flying with a variety of light hearted fun competitions to have a go at, with a trophy or 2 for the best of them that have a go. No BMFA achievement scheme certificate required.
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