Brrgh, it’s cold, but it’s bright and sunny and there’s absolutely no wind for a change. The conditions are perfect for flying and when I arrived at the field this morning, there was already a professional drone pilot there practising with a new aircraft. I’ve know this guy for ages now and he usually flies an Inspire 1, but has now switched to the new Phantom 4 Pro which he says is a lot faster and more manoeuvrable. It’s a lot cheaper than the new Inspire 2, although the optics aren’t quite as good, but then it does have all the new features like collision avoidance. For the purposes of testing, we walked in front of the aircraft while it was locked in a hover just to see that it detected us on the screen and knew it couldn’t move forward.
After that we had loads of people turn up, mainly with drones, so it turned into a bit of an infestation. First, there was the Mavic, who flies the same route around the field a couple of times every week as he’s making a timelapse of the conditions over the whole year. Then the lady with the micro FPV drone, my friend on his electric bike with a FlyZone DR1 triplane, two large groups of friends who met up with a DJI spark and another drone, somebody else was flying an Inspire from about 50 metres away and another person with a Phantom in a backpack arrived and flew from about 20 metres in the other direction. There way also my friend with the Xeno flying wing and finally, my other friend with the Multiplex Easy Star from a few weeks back, but this time he brought his UMX biplane and a Faze(?) electric glider. I still don’t know what type of plane the biplane is, so I need to do a bit of research. It looks Czech to me and around early WW2. Unfortunately, in the walk across the field he had broken the fin and tail off it, so it was going to need some cyano before it took off.
As for flying , firstly, I had a flight with my RS352. I’m down to just two battery packs now as I think the 2 year old ones have puffed up and had it completely. My next flight was with the FlyZone DR1, which I absolutely loved. The first launch with the dud battery we’ll ignore, but I missed the post when it veered sharply right and landed fine. The real flight was better, but still down on power. I flew the whole flight with about 50% down elevator as the box kite wanted to loop on me. This is after pulling the throttle right back, so it wasn’t entirely happy aerodynamically. The red baron and me had great fun doing strafing runs on the drone pilots half way down the field. No, I’m joking really, they were so far away I could never get anywhere near them with 30 grammes of depron drag chute. The landing was a bit of an event as the motor cut rather abruptly and it glided a lot further than I anticipated. We all had to jump out of the way to let it past, but it was a perfect landing. It was great fun though and now I’m thinking seriously about getting my own WW1 biplane.
I actually managed to get four flights with the RS352, managing to charge each of my two good packs once. The aircraft was flying really well in the still air and I spent a lot of time practising cuban eights to get the centre point right in front of myself. Once you get into the swing, it’s all about timing. I do need to do some re-trimming with the aircraft, though, as inverted, if you push down into an outside loop, it screws out badly, suggesting that the elevators or some other part isn’t straight.
I didn’t take any pictures from the field this morning, but I do have an update on the ATOM autogyro.
As you can see, Pete the pilot is back in his office and everything fits back together very nicely. The two fuselage sides are stuck, but the firewall has yet to be glued in place. I’m going to make the holes for the motor wires before sticking it in this time around. Once that’s in place, then I can glue the top piece back on and the front fuselage will be all finished. I’m actually quite impressed that the original canopy still fits as well as it does. Although the tail still needs some work, that should be easy to fix. The most time consuming bit is going to be finishing the replacement rotor blade.