A Very Busy Morning

We had near perfect conditions this morning which meant flying two weeks running. That hasn’t happened in a while.

Lots of people flying (at a distance) and lovely sunny weather.

Lots of people flying (at a distance) and lovely sunny weather.

I was the first to arrive again, but was shortly followed by my two friends from last week who brought a Multiplex Extra 300S and a very realistic looking foam Stinson Reliant. I had already had one flight earlier, after talking for some time to a couple who were walking past and saw the aircraft on the ground. They were really interested and actually asked some good questions, like “why isn’t the wing flat on the bottom and only curved on the top?”.

Later on in the morning, the first flight of the Extra showed that it really is a fantastic aircraft. It was using a 2200mAH LiPo and weighs about the same as my old Extra, but flies so much better. I really do have to resurrect mine and give it another go after seeing this one fly. I just seem to have a thing about Extras and this one looks fairly close to scale. I would fault it on the taper ratio being less insane than the real 2:1 and the teardrop fuselage is a little too straight, but that’s being really very picky as it is fantastic. Unfortunately, part way through the flight there was a strange noise which sounded like the three blade (fantastic) prop slipping on the shaft. The landing was then a bit too fast in rough grass and ripped off the undercarriage. It looks like Multiplex deliberately made this a break off part that’s easy to fix as it’s not glued into the fuselage with any inherent strength. In other words the wheels are designed to break off without any damage to the fuselage. A bit of epoxy and it will be fine again. After that the pilot then went off to retrieve a Whipit that he had left behind.

The Stinson Reliant (this one? [link]) just looked fantastic in the air too. I’ve always loved DH Beavers and this is a similar looking aircraft, but with a much more iconic wing shape. Apparently, they’re no longer available, which is a shame. It also flew really well, taking off from the rough grass almost effortlessly. I still remember the first grass take-off with an electric plane, which used most of the field before getting airborne. These days we have much higher power to weight ratios and this is a much more popular option than the hand launch.

Anyway, I managed four flights with the RS352 again and part way through the morning the guy with the pure balsa gliders turned up and set up his bungee. You don’t see many pure gliders on flat fields these days using bungees as most people have opted for the power assist. He’s dabbled, but resisted going over to the dark side yet, still preferring the bungee launch.

After that, we had somebody else with a Hobby King Easy Star clone and a 3D Yak foamie which was slightly smaller in size to my RS352. He had problems with the control throws being too big and it being hard to control, so I suggested how much movement he should have, which was duly dialled in on the Spektrum transmitter and the aircraft was transformed. Then, round about 12 o’clock, lots of people turned up with a small quadcopter and quite a number of foam Cessna type aircraft. One of these had a rather nasty end when the wing bands failed completely and the wing parted company with the fuselage, rotating down to the ground gracefully while the fuselage hit the ground like a javelin. It does look like it’s repairable though, despite the damage to the motor mount and front of the fuselage, plus the fact that the body has split vertically just behind the wing. The others seemed to be flying OK, but by that point I had to leave them to it.

I haven’t had the time to do any ATOM building this week, but last Sunday I started on the pilot, so that’s the project for the rest of the day.

My ATOM pilot starting to take shape.

My ATOM pilot starting to take shape.

With all that clear canopy, it really needs a pilot and console, so I’ll have to see what I can carve. I am particularly useless at carving pilots, though, so I’ve opted for the helmet approach. I might experiment with adding some smoked plastic for his visor, but I was really impressed with my use of leading edge stock to make the top of the torso. Then I just stuck some sheet onto the sides to make the arms and some 5mm square inside that to fill them out. The head started out as laminations of scrap 3mm sheet cut into rough circles and sanded to a helmet shape, then stuck on with a cocktail stick. I’m a bit stuck with what to do about his hands though.

It does look like the ATOM is coming along, and I’ve still got a lot of work to do, but I want to fly it this September.


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