It’s the first flying in March and the Skylarks are back again. There were quite a few of them around tweeting, darting about and then doing their trademark dive into the ground. There’s no grass yet, so they can’t be nesting, but it looks like a good few of them are back this year.
Anyway, back to the flying and it was quite a busy morning bearing in mind that the weather was horrible. Everybody had looked outside before coming out and thought, “it’s sunny and there’s no wind”, but then arrived to find the clouds had covered the sky and the wind had picked up. Despite this, I turned up to find the helicopter guy had beaten me to it, then was closely followed by the two more people who had a Hobbyzone Advance 25E and a pair of Art Tech Cessnas (one was a different type, which I didn’t see flying). We had some fun trying to reprogram the ESC on his Cessna to change the battery cut-off point, but ended up putting it back to its original setting. Having played around with the throttle quite a bit, I’m left with the impression that this particular ESC has a really good linear throttle response. I don’t know what the type is, but you could see that it was producing usable power over the whole range of the stick in a very progressive way and responsive way. The aircraft also flies extremely well.
After that we were joined by somebody who I’ve seen flying for years. He had a Hobbyzone Striker F27 which I’ve seen before, but he’s added telemetry in the shape of a pitot which reports altitude and speed back to his transmitter. Here’s a flying shot I managed to capture as it looks much more impressive in the air:
As for my flying, I had three flights with the RS352 before calling it a day. I had wanted to try out my HubSan X4 which I seem to have fixed somehow. It must be circuit board problem of surface mount component loose as all I did to fix it was open it up and put it back together. The wind put a stop to any flying though, as it wouldn’t move forward into the wind at all. I’m also still having problems with the new HiTec servos in the RS352. I’ve swapped to a second Futaba R617FS receiver with the same Futaba FF8+TM7 Module and still get the servo jittering. Then I switched to a FrSky Tx Module and Rx and it looked like it might have fixed the problem. I need to test this a bit more, but it’s only a 4 channel receiver so I can’t use it in the aircraft. It does seem to happen when you move the controls suddenly, but it is happening on all the surfaces. It might be that it doesn’t happen in the air because of the load on them, but I have no way to tell.
After practising prop hanging (badly), flick rolls (not good) and stall turns (pretty good actually), the final landing of the day was a bit eventful. You have to remember that it was seriously windy and that the previous two landings were really quite good for the conditions. During the third flight the wind had almost dropped completely, then came back with a vengeance as I was landing. The wheels touched the ground, then a big gust of wind launched the plane 10 feet into the air, at which point I hit power, ailerons, rudder, down, lots of different control inputs, then landed for a second time that flight. That’s the first time that’s happened to me, so it was rather interesting.
Near the end of the session, a new guy turned up with his wife and little boy, plus a Parrot AR Drone and a Horizon Hobby Delta Ray. These are fantastic aircraft for anyone wanting to get into fixed wing flying as they have the SAFE panic button and look absolutely amazing in the air. I was standing next to him as he flew it for the first time and put in a few click of down elevator for him while he was flying as it seemed to be flying with its nose in the air. He used the panic button a few times and, with the blustery conditions, you could see a few times when the aircraft was thrown around and he panicked, but he was doing really well with it. Unfortunately, something strange then happened and as I was watching the aircraft went 90 degrees nose down, he used full up elevator and the panic button, but nothing worked. It hit the ground at 90 degrees full on the nose, which inevitably broke off, along with damage to the two wing mounted motors. The really strange thing was that, as we approached the wrecked plane, the motors were still running despite the throttle being at zero. As he picked it up the motors were running quite fast and the only way to stop them was to disconnect the LiPo. Very strange and probably indicative of an electronic failure leading to the crash. It’s the first time I’ve seen a Delta Ray crash like that though.
As the forecast weather front started to approach we decided to call it a day. The ATOM Autogyro is continuing and I’m almost at the point where I can add the booms.