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Mike.K last won the day on August 29

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About Mike.K

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    Flight Lieutenant

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  1. That oak tree certainly grabs the models. I`m certain the thing is mounted on a moving trolley. As we know it grabbed Chris`s model on Sunday afternoon. Image attached. It has already had my Super Chipmunk and my No 1 Ultra Stick! Thanks for posting the details, Amol. Phone number now saved to my mobile.
  2. The big Flybaby build is progressing only interrupted by back surgery at Guys. I`m somewhat incapacitated at present and a second stage of surgery is needed the week after next. Undaunted, I`ve continued with kitting the model with materials supplied by our Rob at Avicraft. Rob is attempting to source a SIG Piper Cub J3 one quarter scale fibre glass cowl which fits this one third scale model. The replacement wing for the smaller Seagull Flybaby mono-plane is expected from Perkins in the near future. I made an appearance at the field on Sunday taking my cut out kit parts and plan with me. James was present and gave my collection of raw sticks and twigs an eye-ball. Looking at the plan, he recognized the designers name and also the construction details. Subject to confirmation, it would appear that I`m building from the same plan that James used to build his model some thirty years ago. Soon, we will be able to put the models side by side and see if we have two identical air-frames. It will be fantastic to fly both models together. The build hasn`t been at all complex to date. Its all very straight forward construction and has a considerable amount of similarities to something like a Super Sixty. Elevators, fin, tail=plane and rudder are complete and encompass some weight reduction modification. Fuselage sides are now done with a couple of bulkheads glued and fitted to one side. Great care is being taken to ensure precise alignment and accuracy needed to ensure a good, straight fuselage. The two sides are due to be joined today. James`s model flies with a .91 four stroke engine. He informs me that the model does not need a larger size power unit so I`ve managed to find a second hand, lightly used OS FS .91 Surpass unit on eBay. I paid the seller £120 for the motor and £6 for the postage. Assuming the motor is all good when it arrives around Wednesday next week, Rob considers my buy is as good as it gets for this type of unit acquired from the second hand market.. Certainly, four stroke motors command higher prices than two stroke units which are obviously cheaper due to lack of four stroke valve gear complication . Bought new from retail sources, the going rate appears to be about £280. The motor was described as having high compression and to turn smoothly. We will see what arrives shortly via Royal Mail. Anyway, here are some more progress shots of the construction work to date. More updates on this thread as the model takes shape. All comments appreciated. Mike
  3. I`ve always loved James wonderful white 70" Flybaby Bipe which I understand is now over thirty years old and built from the RCM&E plan. James flies the model to perfection with a .95FS nailed to the front. I must admit to being transfixed by that model and I suppose it was inevitable that I would eventually have to have one myself. That time has arrived and I`m on the case! As an interim measure, I bought the Seagull Flybaby 70" monoplane kit version just to help me partially scratch the itch. Trevor and I flew that model last week but discovered after the first flight that the port wing had around 15mm of wing tip wash out built into it at the factory. Highly disappointing in view of the SIG/Seagull reputation for producing quality kits. That major fault made the model fly in a most peculiar fashion and the matter is now with the kit distributors, Perkins. The port wing is as warped as a nine bob note and unsuitable for the purpose. So back it has gone and I await a replacement part. All this has been detailed in a separate thread. Size wise, the model is of similar proportions to James`s bi-plane version. There are several Flybaby Bipe kits around. The best known is the hugely expensive American Balsa USA rendition at a cost of around $475 USD plus American carriage to the UK, plus 20% UK import VAT and Royal Mail delivery. That`s seriously outside my own and probably many others budgets. I finally decided on a 54" Sarik supplied plan for a scratch build project. The plan was penned by one Eraldo Pomare and appears to come from the Nexus Plans Service. One thing this plan is for is not a 54" model, but one of 84"! So be it. I can live with that. Wings span is 84", chord13.5", wing area 7.5 square feet, fuselage length 4`9", prototype weight, 9Lb 8oz, power is .60 two stroke. The construction is very light weight and rigging is fully load bearing. My vision is to run my model on a 1.20 four stroke which would give the right sound quality. The motor is yet to be sourced. The build is quite straight forward, is of large proportions but is essentially a structure that is full of air. Wheels are 5" Dubro inflatable at a cost of around £30 a pair. The cowl used is from a 1/4 scale SIG J3 Piper Cub at a cost of around £23. Rob tells me the cowl should be easy to source. I`ve only just begun construction and have started by making some of the bulkheads. F1 measures about 6" in width and about 8" in height. This will proportionally produce quite a chunk of model. Most of the bulkheads are either 3mm/1/8" ply or balsa. Others are from 6mm/1/4" material. Parts have been traced from the plan and the tracing paper stuck with Prit-stick onto the core sheet material. Parts have been cut out using a Dremel fret saw with the remains of the tracing paper being removed once cutting has been completed. I started with quite a sizable piece of 3mm birch ply sheet but that soon became consumed. These big models certainly gobble material. I have 51 wing ribs to produce...I`m looking forward to that....not! So the build has started. The progress will be documented here is matters progress. I foresee a build time of about two months. Watch this space. Mike
  4. Another late afternoon/evening session flown. With the chunk of ballast already in the model moved right forward into the motor cowl and a further 20gms added, the model became further improved. On the first flight I considered the model now a tad nose heavy. Removal of 10gms and another flight found this model just about perfect in trim. I`d also adjusted transmitter expo to give 35%< which took all the bite out of aileron and particularly elevator inputs. An aileron to rudder mix of 50% helps the model avoid yaw although rolls tend to be of the barrel type. I need to learn to counteract that with a good stab of opposite rudder to get something akin to a reasonably straight roll. More practice needed. The nicest CoG dimension is 115mm rearward of the leading edge of the TOP wing. At that location, the model flies as perfectly as it could become. A few basic loops were tried and found successful. Once again conditions were reasonably calm with wind at 7mph/15mph gusts from the south. I enjoyed circuit work in preparation for landings. The model does float and gets pushed upwards quite easily as you come over the hedge from the Biggin Hill end of our site. Getting the model back down low again for a landing on the patch with better accuracy will take further air time practice. I`ve flown the Se5a now for about 30 minutes in total and continue to explore the flight envelope. The model is a little sweety and I`m very taken with it. Images below show the model on its maiden flight last November. Until someone gets up to Fickleshole with a camera, these flying pictures will have to suffice. Overall impression of this kit, its build ease and flying ability fully deserve a ten out of ten rating. Value for money with a build cost including coverings, motor, esc and 3200 Lipo amounting to about £230 is a typical costing which you would be hard to beat. Radio gear is an obvious extra expense. Ground handling and take off are a cinch and I`ve not yet managed to tip the model on its nose. Landings can be excellent three pointers with plenty of elevator authority. All in all, this SFM kit is an understated little gem. I like it very much. Mike
  5. Here we are again as at the end of August 2019. Having gained my A-test and piled a load of air time in on the Ultra Stick, my abilities are rather better than when I re-started flying after a forty year break in April this year. I`m certainly more confident now than I was and have learned to fly out of Fickleshole with a reasonable certainty of being able to get a model back on the pitch. With confidence improving and to an extent also my own ability, I decided it was time to fly the Se5a myself. Yesterday saw me up at the field flying the model. During commissioning in the workshop, I`d struggled a bit with the CoG recommendation in the build manual which put the position 100mm back from the lower wing LE. It seemed very far aft and I`ve become aware over the months that some Chinese or Vietnamese kit builders are hopeless when it comes to signifying the correct CoG. My research into bi-plane CoG said that one should measure back on both wings 25% of the wing chord marking the easily found point on the lower wing. The same idea on the underside of the top wing. Dropping or raising vertical lines would produce two points. I did this on the top wing underside. Splitting the difference between those two marks apparently gives the correct position. As it stood, I was highly suspicious of the SFM CoG which seemed to make the model very tail heavy. My calculation of CoG position was some 65mm further forward than recommended....!? I had also looked at plans for the Se5a on the internet. It appeared that generally, CoG positions marked on many model plans had CoG markings at a similar point to my own calculated positions. I had something of a quandary on my hands. I had to start somewhere with the issue so moved the model CoG a little further forward than SMF suggested. The model took off well but immediately stuffed its nose skywards. Clearly tail heavy. I flew the model around for a few minute just to get an improved radio trim and suss out low speed handling prior to landing. That was event free but the model was far from stable on finals. On the bench in the pits, more lead was added. Very much better on the second flight but still not right. Elevator for and aft pitch control was very sharp but calmed down somewhat with lead added. Back in the workshop, more lead has been added. Hopefully, I`ll fly the model again today and see how that pans out. Up in the evening sky, the model looked wonderful. At slow speed it appeared very scale like and evocative. The model has the potential to be a very nice flyer. I just have to get that CoG sorted. More news in due course. Mike
  6. Some news about the Flybaby. Prior to the maiden flight, it was seen that ailerons were loosing their neutral position upon switching on Tx and Rx. Re-setting arm positions and messing with the linkages then followed to restore positioning. After a few stick waggles, the servos and ailerons would loose the plot again. It was most frustrating.The more the transmitter stick was waggled, the worse the issue became. Power/signal leads were fitted new as were servos. I`d perhaps bought badly. Although I`ve previously purchased Tower Pro digital servos with a metallic purple label, the ones pulled from my stock had a black label. Internet forum research now indicates that these particular items may well be "knock off" copies. Having found the issue at the flying field. Dave and Trevor suspected an issue with the RX. Back home, I changed the receiver but the problem persisted. I tore those servos out and substituted some simple but old analogue Futaba S-148 units. An instant fix. So buyer beware. Avoid any black label servos marked Tower Pro. They appear to have feed back potentiometer issues. With the servo issue fixed, I couldn`t put a maiden flight off any longer. Trevor stood by as I took the model up for its first sortie. It wasn`t a pleasant experience. Masses of right aileron trim had to be applied together with a little right rudder and some down trim. The model seemed cranky and directionally un-stable. After a couple of minutes flying, we had the model trimmed as best as we could but it really did remain something of a handful. Slow speed work was rather un-nerving but I performed a few circuits just to get the feel of what was needed for approach and landing. The landing got me back on the pitch well enough if rather over to the far side of the strip. As the model slowed, the starboard wing tip just touched some of the surrounding crops which spun the model around by about 120degrees and stuffed the nose into the vegetation. As we recovered the model, we could see damage to the port wing tip. Lifting the model, a broken wooden propeller was noted. Back on the flight table, the excess applied aileron trim added in flight to get the model to fly straight was immediately noticeable. Sighting down the starboard wing confirmed a straight and true wing. Not so the port wing panel where we could see excessive wash in ie, the wing tip rib sitting higher in incidence that the rib at the wing root. That explained the problem. Yesterday I phoned Rob at Avicraft whilst traveling on the train up to London. Rob was most sympathetic and suggested that I take the wing back to him so that the distributors, J Perkins could examine the offending panel. That is were I`m off to now so more news on the distorted wing shortly. It is disappointing that such a bad panel could have left the factory. Clearly there had been no quality checking carried out before the kit had been dispatched from Vietnam. Lesson learned. Even quality kit wings need checking by the finishing builder prior to first flights.... The first image here shows the distorted wing clamped down to chair arms over-night in an attempt to correct the 12mm wash out issue. Un-clamped next morning, the wing jumped out of the clamps to revert to its original warped state...it was worth an attempt. The second image shows the bashed wing tip following the first landing. Mike K
  7. 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
  8. "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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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

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