The End of August

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My RS352, captured using the high dynamic range (HDR) setting on my Nexus 4.

I’m sad this week because I haven’t got my Autogyro to fly. Never mind, though, because it’s Bank Holiday weekend, so I’ve got the whole of tomorrow to do the repairs. All I need to do is to epoxy the spruce 6mm square longeron where it’s split on the right tail, add some ply reinforcement and cyano the right fin back on. Fairly minor really, but I just didn’t get time during the week.

As for this week, the weather was just about perfect again. There was already somebody flying a drone at the edge of the field when I arrived, plus another guy flying a Blanik way down the main path. I’m not sure if it was a glider, even though I saw it flying and said hello to him as he was walking past me back to his car.

Anyway, soon after that we had one father and son with a foam board F18 and a new Hobby King Prime Jet Pro. Both flew really well, but the F18 had rather an untimely end. The wing disintegrated in mid air and it crashed, with parts of the wing debris floating down into a tree. The fuselage didn’t have a bad crash considering, and all the gear was salvageable. We also had another father and son, this time with a fairly new SIG Kobra that they had flown for the first time the day before. He was still a bit nervous landing it, so I ended up standing next to him and talking him down on the first approach. Later in the morning, and after he had had a few flights with it, things got a little bit interesting. He took off and the telemetry told him that the flight battery was low and he needed to bring it back in quickly. Luckily, I hadn’t quite launched my RS352, when he asked me to land the Kobra, so I could put my plane on the ground, pull the power connector out and take the Taranis transmitter off of him to fly the Kobra. OK, so I’ve never flown this aircraft before. I flew across in front of myself and started a slow left turn upwind, thinking that I would fly downwind, turn onto final approach and land. I didn’t even get that far, because I could feel the power going half way around that first turn, so the best option was to complete the turn so that the plane was pointing directly towards me and land with the wind. Trying to manoeuvre, even a fairly lightly loaded pattern ship, as the speed and height are both reducing is never a good option, so the first turn I had made with this aircraft was going to have to be the final approach run. It all worked out well in the end and I managed what I called a reasonable landing with the wind in rough grass. The undercarriage survived unscathed and I didn’t damage anything, so mission accomplished. I actually wouldn’t mind one of these myself, as it looked like a very nice aircraft.

We had a few more visitors this morning, with the Sky Surfer from last week, but he had also brought his UMX Tupolev WW1 biplane. I still can’t work out precisely what aircraft this is, so I’ll have to do some more background research. It’s brown and had a penguin roundel (yes, really). Bringing WW1 back to life, we also had a red UMX Fokker DR1 triplane (quadriplane), which I first flew for the owner a few weeks back. Two of us had a go with it today, but it just didn’t have the power it had before and refused to fly. Eventually I worked out that the problem was where the engine cowl had been glued back on and it was now rubbing on the prop and obviously losing thrust. Despite my best advice to take it home and fix it, the owner wanted to see it fly, so he borrowed my scalpel to try and prise the depron cowling away. This didn’t go well, as it turns out that inside the top centre point of the cowl there is a beam and electronics board carrying the rudder and elevator servo. I was worried about cutting motor wires and it turns out that the radio, speed controller and servos are all housed in the engine bay. To cut a long story short, we had cut one of the wires to the elevator servo and destroyed the beam that the servos and electronics were mounted on. In other words, both servos were now no longer attached by anything other than the push rods. I felt really bad about that, but I had told him to take it home and fix it as these types of aircraft always require micro surgery.

In addition to this, we also had the lady on the scooter with her tiny drone, then a family with two kids and another toy drone, two people who I haven’t seen before with a Bixler and a drone (Mavic?), another guy with a DJI Phantom in a holdall, the professional drone pilot with his DJI Inspire keeping his flying hours up and another couple who I’ve seen a lot with a DJI Mavic. Yes, it was rather busy towards lunch time.

As for my flying, I got in four flights with the RS352, which was strange as it was quite a long way out of trim. My first thought was that the trim I had from the ATOM last week was applying when the model was set to RS352. My radio is a Futaba Field Force 8, and that’s not how it works as I checked after the first flight. It’s odd, but I had a lot of right aileron trim (about 10 clicks), most of which got taken out as the flights progressed. I can’t really explain that, but I still had four good flights.

I also got to fly the Sky Surfer as it’s owner was having problems with hand launching it himself. He threw it a couple of times with me flying it and I gave him the controller once it was in the air. I flew the DR1 a few times until I figured out what was wrong with it and I also flew the SIG Kobra, even if it was only briefly. All in all it was quite an eventful morning.

Right, I’ve got the rest of today and the whole of Monday left, so I’m going to fix my autogyro.

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