A Busy Morning’s Flying

We all thought it was a nice day this morning, but again, the forecast of mainly cloudy prevailed as the Sun rapidly disappeared and the wind picked up throughout the morning. By lunch time it was trying to tear the model out of my hand, so it was really time to go by then. With the direction of the wind as well, it was blowing through the trees and very turbulent low down, flying anything was a bit of a challenge.

When I showed up there were already two French guys there who I’ve never seen before. They had a small helicopter and a blue UMX Piper Cub, but it was already too windy for either of these to fly, so they just watched. I was closely followed by someone I haven’t seen for about six months and his young son, carrying a yellow and black Weston Magnum and a Twin Star MK2 in Slovakian air force markings. The Magnum is very fast in the air as you would expect and it had a number of flights in the windy conditions. Next to arrive was the guy with the EFlite Advance and his new(ish) Multiplex Xeno Flying Wing that folds in half and comes in its own bag. I really like this and it was amazingly only the second time that he’s flown it. In the terrible conditions it was going so well that it didn’t want to land and he was able to squeeze a little power on and go around again with ease. The fact that it folds in half means that you could actually carry it on a bike without any problems and the wing area and chord are fairly decent.

Next up was the only pure glider flyer of the bunch, carrying a Gentle Lady, another glider that I can’t name and a bungee. He had some really good flights, but we still can’t persuade him to try an electric plane. He did also bring a rocket which we watched him launch though, which was quite fun. Last up were an Italian family with lots of young kids bringing another blue UMX Cub with ailerons and a Discovery ST. Along with these guys was the owner of the Blade 350 quadcopter who does the aerial filming. I noticed that he now has a 12v lead acid battery like mine to charge his LiPos from at the field. He said it was his first time since September, so he just got in the air, had some practice and packed up around 1pm when the rest of us gave up due to the wind.

I managed to get in 3 flights with the RS352 and some really decent landings. That is apart from the last one where I was feeding in small amounts of elevator to correct, but nothing was happening. To avoid hitting the ground early I had to over control to gain about 6 feet in height, then continue the landing run. I was quite close to hitting the ground very early and fast, but I think it was just the windy conditions and maybe the flex in the airframe that causes this problem. It does the same thing in the air sometimes, so I’m quite used to it by now. In terms of flying, I managed a knife edge loop, which is something I’ve never done before. I was practising knife edge left and right, then thought, “OK, why not try the 360?”. The RS352 has much too much rudder movement, so it’s fairly easy to do as long as you have the height and can keep the aircraft on the knife edge. My problem is always with it moving away from me on the elevator as I find that very hard to judge.

I would have had a go with my HubSan X4 as well, but both my Q4 and my X4 are broken at the moment. The Q4’s front left motor just stopped working, so I suspect a motor failure or wiring problem as the LED on that corner still lights. With the X4 I managed to slam it into a wall top first, so the motor armature has gone through the bottom of the plastic motor back plate. When you look at the motors, the back plate is only cheap plastic, with two brushes that are little more than wires. There is no damage to the motor can or armature, only the back plate and brush wires, so it’s really annoying that it looks to be unfixable. I’ll have to get a replacement motor. I’ll just have to settle for the Quadcopter simulator until the replacement motors arrive. This weekend I went out and got a Mad CATZ CTRLR for my Nexus 4 phone so that I could practice with some controls which are closer to the real thing. The reason for all this quadcopter practice has to remain a secret for a little longer, but I’m hoping everything will have worked out by next weekend.

Anyway, the ATOM build is still progressing slowly, with the boom now being assembled and glued.

The ATOM with the boom fitted

The ATOM with the boom fitted

Top view of the boom

Top view of the boom

You might just about be able to see all the masking around the spruce longerons to stop them sticking to the main pod structure. I just hope that the glue hasn’t seeped into the structure and glued it permanently, as it now needs to be removed for the next step. It’s only just dried so I haven’t checked yet.

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