Saturday, 1 August 2015

An hour at "The Field"

Every so often, on a nice day, I pop down to the local model flying field.  I'm not a member, but they don't care as I don't fly yet.
There's usually good banter and it was a nice afternoon.

The usual suspects were there, three of whom were flying.

One chap had a petrol engined (30 cc.) aerobatic type thing...huge wings, massive rudder, blah, blah, but the engine really wasn't pulling many revs.  However John flew it for the chap and it seemed to circulate at a nice speed to my way of thinking, but kept "dead sticking" before time, so got put away.
By contrast, another chap was already aloft with one of those Almost Ready To Fly jobbies, which many are sniffy about , but which get a lot of people flying quickly.  Both his aircraft had electric motors, something much more common these days and almost silent, which keeps the retards at the fishing lake happy, if anything actually does.

Then John got his own huge aerobatic thingy out of the car and started assembling wings on Carbon Fibre spars, connecting servo plugs, etc. etc.  It looked very like the petrol 'plane, except suddenly he just jumped up, turned the motor on and off it went.  By no means silent, but the bigger electric motors in these large models sound like well silenced engines.
He put it through the aerobatic schedule smoothly and efficiently and landed perfectly, with a nearly flat battery.   No mess, no wiping down old spent fuel, just turn off and disassemble.
There's a lot to be said for electric model aircraft, but I do like an on-song engine.
The big problem with modern electrics is the LiPo batteries, which aren't exactly cheap and can be very fussy, nay dangerous on charging, discharging and even storage.
But, I hope to be joining them soon so I can learn to fly again.  The only time I ever flew R/C was with a 2 function model microlight, which I bought for just 50 quid, because it had Skyleader radio gear.  Something I'd always wanted.  It was powered by an unthrottled PAW 19 diesel and screamed to full height before the engine cut and I was able to circle it down to a perfect tricycle landing...twice!  On the third attempt, covered in oily diesel fuel, my thumb slipped off the stick and it nosed in.  Later swapped for work on the front wing of my Jag XJ6!

Meanwhile back at the bench...
The master model of the Bedford VAL Legionaire coach in 1/32nd scale. It is, of course, the one in the original The Italian Job film which ended with its back end see-sawing over a cliff.  This made in Ureol and filler.  The basic shape is there, but windows need filling and detail added before it can be cast in resin.


  1. The bus is looking fabulous, Martin. I really don't know how you create such things using filler, my filing and hacking skills are just not good enough! Looking forward to seeing how it progresses.

  2. Thanks, Iain.
    The filler was simply to get the windscreen shape done easily and to make up for where I had to piece in bits of Ureol because I'd run out of nice big bits! But it's useful stuff. Window blanks are now in using 3mm Foamex. Now that really IS useful stuff as you've come to appreciate.

  3. A bit of me has always fancied an electric RTF plane. My reasoning is that if I crashed it, I'd only have wasted money. If I'd spent hours building a model and then crashed it, I'd be really upset at the wasted time. However, I'm odd as I value time over money.

    That said, I can just enjoy watching those who have the skill to build a really nice plane flying it. There is some amazing work out there.

    Oh, and like the bus. Will have to test the CofG so it balances on the cliff edge properly?

  4. I take your point about the time spent building, Phil, but sometimes the only way to get a model of something you want is to build it from plans. But RTF is certainly getting people flying and heaven knows we need new blood, as in young blood in the hobby. In all the hobbies, in fact. I'm so sick of men of a certain age all looking the same, I'd have a Mohawk haircut if I had enough hair, just to be different!
    Thanks for the nice comments on the coach. It now has windows and some body detail. more pics. when it's done.

    1. I agree, but there must be a learning curve for flying model aircraft and I'd rather go through that with a RTF of any type and then use those honed skills on a home built model. I've always thought there are a lot of variables to consider - a good flyer might handle a badly set up plane but they are more likely to be able to trim it properly in the first place.

      At least with model boats, the worst that happens is the model sinks and that's pretty rare. Most of the time they die in the middle of the lake and can be rescued by another boat. Not much chance of that with a 'plane!

  5. Apparently the Phoenix, or similar, simulator software is very good to teach model flying. I downloaded R/C Desk Pilot for free and got on really well with it. My grandson at 7 was doing aerobatics in a Vulcan! And flying a helicopter, which I could not get on with. And that was on keyboard buttons as my transmitter would not connect. My friend has Phoenix and it really is very good indeed. I was doing circuits and bumps in a turbine equipped Hawk in no time!
    I have got model boats and built many for customers, but find model boat club members to be some of the most miserable old farts going and after 5 minutes of going round and round I'm bored silly. Only yachts are truly involving model boats for me as you always have to be spotting winds, setting sails etc.
    The guys at the flying club are really good fellas, even if you don't fly, but just watch and learn.

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