Halloween Drones and Lost Models

It was a bit busy this week, despite the very windy conditions. When I arrived there was someone just leaving who I hadn’t seen for over a year. Apparently he’s been coming up and flying his foam beginners F3A style model and leaving before 09:30, so we’ve been missing each other. Then I got to do the maiden flight of an Ares UMX Taylorcraft. This is a lovely little aircraft, which flew straight out of my hand and handled the now quite breezy conditions very well. It’s just like the Champ I’ve flown, but feels a lot more solid in the air. We think it’s a bit bigger than the Champ and the motor is a longer can version, which should give more torque. Anyway, the flight was over much too quickly, despite finding time for a loop and a very bad roll with just the rudder. The landing was much better than my usual lightweight aircraft landings, actually rolling along the wheels before coming to a stop right in front of me. You usually don’t get that with this type of aircraft as there isn’t any momentum and once the wheels touch they just tip over.

Anyway, after that I had a flight with the RS352, which was followed later on by another two flights. I was mainly trying out knife edge flight and I’m starting to get the hang of the elevator/rudder coupling. I think the trick is not to try and go too straight as the rudder easily holds the nose up, but causes a curved flight path due to the pitch coupling.

After my first flight with the Taylorcraft we had a couple of drone pilots turn up. They had the idea of trying to drag a Halloween skeleton figure underneath the drone, which you can see in the video above. I’m not sure how successful this was as the wind was causing havoc with the control because of the huge sail that the drone was dragging underneath it. Landing was a bit of an issue as well. It looked rather fun though and reminded me of the DaVinci Aerial Screw, which was difficult to fly because of being top heavy. I really must make a bigger version of my prototype and try it outdoors.

The Multiplex Xeno arrived shortly after the Halloween drone had been abandoned and proceeded to fly as beautifully as ever in the gusty conditions. Then we had the Multiplex FunJet which proceeded to fly over and around us at breakneck speeds, along with the Hyperion Sniper II which got damaged the other week. A couple of guys with FPV equipped flying wings also turned up around this time, but it was at this point that the Sniper was lost over the trees on its first flight of the day. It had got blown downwind a long way and over the trees you can see in the drone video above. After that it was just an orientation and control problem which ended with it (we think) hitting the back of the tallest tree’s canopy. The three of us spent a good half an hour looking around in the trees, but failed to find any trace of the aircraft. We all thought that blipping the throttle or servos was our best shot at hearing it, but whether it was damaged, or the drone flying overhead was masking the noise, we never discovered. My opinion is that it was too high up at the top of a tree, or we were just looking in the wrong place. After going behind the tree, it could have continued to fly for quite a way if it didn’t hit anything, so it might just be sitting there now on the floor of the forest waiting for someone to discover it.

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