Three Jumpers

Definitely three jumpers weather. We’re between two big weather systems today that brought wind and rain yesterday and promise to do the same tomorrow, but today is bright sunshine with 15mph winds forecast and cold. There is not a cloud in the sky to give any visual clue of the wind and I almost didn’t go this morning, but I haven’t flown since before Christmas, so, let’s go fly something.

OK, it’s definitely windy. We used to say that it was too windy to fly when you can see leaves blowing along the ground. I think the wind has blown all the leaves away and there were occasions when I had to hang on to my model to stop it blowing away. Anyway, I started out on my own, but was quickly joined by the guy with the foamboard flying wing, then a little later by a French family with a whole array of aircraft including a DJI Phantom quadcopter, ST Discovery aircraft, Hobbyzone mini Cub (like the Champ, weighing about 15g) and a the HubSan X4 quadcopter that comes with an onboard camera.

In the end I had 3 flights with my RS352, trying out the gloves I bought last year for the first two flights. I got these Tegra work gloves after one particularly cold day last year when my fingers literally froze and I couldn’t move them enough to land. I remember one of the two Polish flyers there telling me that it was always this cold and windy in Poland, so they just ignore the weather and get on with the flying. I should be grateful that I haven’t had cause to use them much because of how unseasonably warm it’s been lately. It’s actually very difficult to fly in gloves, even very thin ones like these. Normally I throw them away for landing, but they do make a huge difference in preventing my hands from freezing. I think the solution is to try them with the flight simulator until I get used to flying in them. Incidentally, I’m in the process of getting the RS352 model from Sketchup into Collada and into the simulator, as well as figuring out how to use my old RealFlight controller as a joystick. Having taken it apart, I’ve got it partially working, so I’ll post some details on the electronics later.

Anyway, back to the flying and in addition to my 3 flights with the RS352 in some really nasty air, the small flying wing was interesting to watch in the windy conditions. I thought at first that it might be a lack of directional stability, as it was yawing back and forth noticeably flying into wind, but I suspect that it might be that the two fins at each wingtip need a small amount of angle before the “bite” into the airflow and start to generate a corrective force. At that speed (it’s very quick), the large corrective force is then under-damped and you end up with it yawing left and right, sawing its way through the wind. My wing also does something similar, so I would like to understand this effect a little better.

The only other flights were the DJI Phantom, which nearly tipped over in the wind, the Hubsan X4, the HobbyZone Cub, and the ST Discovery, which I really wanted to fly. It just looked so elegant and stable in what were really challenging conditions. One minute calm, next minute windy, but seriously turbulent. At one point the RS352 seemed to get tossed around on the spot by the turbulence, which threatened to throw it into the ground. I had to to use full power to climb out while trying to keep the nose vertical. Yes, I really mean vertical, lucky it’s got that kind of power. Now, I’ve flown a HobbyZone UMX Champ in these conditions and the Cub looked just the same. A 15g aircraft really has no right to fly in wind like that, but they do. I’ve also flown my Hubsan when it’s ridiculously windy, but this one ended up drifting downwind badly. The Discovery just looked right for those conditions, flying impeccably.

Just to finish, here’s a picture of the DJI Phantom in the bright sunshine. Note the lack of clouds – they must be hiding.

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