Normal Service Is Resumed

After everything that’s been in the news recently about a drone hitting a plane on the approach to land at Heathrow, they’ve now decided that it was a plastic bag instead. At least it didn’t turn out to be one of the drones from the BBC’s aerial filming unit then. Given the amount of drone footage that turns up on the TV now, they seem to be flying them all over the place.

It was quite a pleasant morning, if you don’t count the wind and low level turbulence. When I got to the flying field this morning I bumped into somebody who I haven’t seen in ages, along with 2 generations of his family and his dog who loved to chase all our aeroplanes. He had a home-built foam profile plane, but couldn’t fly it because the prop attachment broke. It was really good to see him again. We also had a guy with a foam board Spitfire that he built from some Internet plans, plus his DJI Phantom, the guy with the eFlite Advance and Multiplex Heron glider who arrived shortly after me, plus a couple of youngsters with a DJI Phantom who arrived part way through the morning. We also had a visit from somebody else who I haven’t seen in ages who used to fly a Magnum, plus the guy whose Hurricane I flew before Christmas. He arrived on a very high tech looking electric bike and it was good to hear that the Hurricane hadn’t sustained any real damage from when I dropped it straight down on it wheels quite hard on landing. There was also a father and son who were flying some sort of really small dark aircraft and a bigger white one at the extreme limits of the field. It was hard to see, but the white aircraft seemed to be going very well. Nothing compares to the Spitfire flying straight towards us and turning away though, I never get tired of seeing that in the air (NOTE: you need to build a Tempest).

Other than that, I managed five flights with the RS352, checking the prop adapter after every flight with my coffee stirrer feeler gauge. The prop adapter is still gradually sliding forwards, but I’m not sure whether this has now stabilised, or whether it’s just the manoeuvres that I’m doing. For the later flights I cut out the prop hanging and flick rolls, so it might be that. The motor is still making more noise than before, which certain people said was better because they could now hear me coming where the aircraft was almost silent before. For me, silent means efficient, so I’ll keep checking for problems. Despite the conditions, which were laugh out loud bumpy – one minute you’re flying straight and level, then you’ve gained or lost 20 feet and in a knife edge, it was a lot of fun. One landing I really was going sideways, but still hit the spot. It seems to me that the power on balance isn’t quite there as I’m having to be much more cautious with the throttle than I was before the motor fix. As soon as I power back up after a loop, you can see the aircraft wanting to torque roll and yaw which wasn’t happening before. The thrust line is a bit off, probably due to having to drill out the cocktail sticks and then replace them to get at the motor. I’ll fix it eventually, but I need some calm weather for trimming. It’s perfectly fine flying along straight and suddenly pulling full up into a vertical climb, so I’m sure it’s not aerodynamic.

That’s enough of the flying for this week, but it’s a Bank Holiday, so in amongst all the work I’ve got to do, I need to find some time for the ATOM Autogryo installation.

It’s not looking too bad and I’ve got the waggly bits of the head waggling when I move the sticks on the transmitter. I think it’s just the radio and final installation, rudder closed loop, covering and rotor blades left to do. The rotors are built, they just need final balancing and covering. My main problem is with the rotor head angle as I don’t want to cut too much off of the push rods, so I’m thinking of using my smart phone as an inclinometer to measure the angle. I also need to work out how to hold the canopy on, but sellotape would do it for now.

Just to finish, we had an interesting discussion about ornithopters this morning and I mentioned this video on YouTube: [Pterodactyl] This is the funniest thing I’ve seen flying in a long time as it looks like a duck in flight. Once I tick autogyro off my list I’m moving on to ornithopters.

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