Tail End of a Hurricane

It was the remnants of hurricane Joaquin that were dictating our weather this week. When I got up it was a beautiful sunny morning with no wind, but by the time I got to the field it was blowing a gale. I can’t complain really, as they had been forecasting a strong easterly wind and I hadn’t really planned on flying this week.

When I arrived there was already a French guy flying a foam Corsair. I saw it flying for a bit, but he was landing as I walked across the field and that was his final flight of the day. His timing was a lot better than mine, though, as the wind was already picking up by this time. I had a flight with my RS352, then the next guy to arrive had an EFlite Apprentice S 15e, along with a foam FlyBaby. The Apprentice had a gyro on board, which you could tell by the way it was flying in the wind. You could see it side-slipping into the wind as it was flying along.

One of the locals calling to his friends.

One of the locals calling to his friends.

The FlyBaby, which is actually made from foam

The FlyBaby, which is actually made from foam.

I have to say, this was some of the worst turbulence I’ve seen for a long time and I was actually wondering whether my radio had failed. The next two flights I had with the RS352 were really affected by the conditions, but it was rather fun. The East wind is an unusual direction, so we haven’t seen these effects much before. Despite its agility, the RS352 was wriggling around in some really weird ways, especially on a vertical up line when it was yawing left and right all the way to the top.

The FlyBaby never flew, as it was to be a maiden flight and the conditions weren’t exactly sensible. A little later, we had an EFlite Advance and Heron, plus the guy with the Stryker and telemetry system arrived. I haven’t seen him for quite a few weeks and he had a couple of flights with the Stryker before going home happy. I noticed that he had a DX9 transmitter and, when he was showing me the Stryker’s controls, it turns out that he has airbrakes on the twin rudders. This isn’t something I’ve seen before, but, when he deploys the brakes, both rudders move inwards to slow down the (very quick) aircraft for landing. Apparently, he downloaded the configuration and copied it to the model definitions on the CF card in the transmitter. That’s technology for you, in my day we had to sit there and program everything by hand.

Apart from the wind, the most eventful thing to happen this morning was my left wheel coming a bit loose after the first flight. I checked the nuts fairly recently even though they’ve never moved since I first put the wheels on three years ago. It must have been that really fantastic landing I did where the flare was precisely on the level of the grass strip so it looked like it came down on rails. I’ve never done that before, but the rotation brought the wheels down precisely in the right place on the grass strip, so the vertical speed on touch down was zero. The other two landings were a bit wind affected, so we won’t mention them.

Finally, I am going to try and finish the autogyro, but I’ve had too much work to do recently, so it’s just not getting done. I now desperately want to see it fly, so I need to make some time. I’ve also gone over to the dark side and bought a quadcopter frame from UnmannedTech. I know I said I was planning something a little different, but they were only £5.49, so I couldn’t resist. I’m going to build the quadcopter with this frame first, then replace it with something else later. The ideas I’ve had so far are a wooden antique style frame that looks like something from about 1910, an AvroCar type of flying saucer design from the 1960s, or the Apollo Lunar Lander (LEM). That is definitely going to have to wait until after the autogyro though.

You get a lot of polycarbonate bits for £5.49.

You get a lot of polycarbonate bits for £5.49.

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