It was a dreary, overcast morning today, but eminently flyable. I bumped into an old friend who I haven’t seen for ages. He was flying a Heron motor glider, at least he was up until the point where the right flap servo stripped in flight. All was OK, but it put an end to his flying for the day.
There were lots of people around when I arrived. An Inspire was hovering away in one corner, another drone was a little further away. The lady with the micro drones arrived later in the morning, and another guy had a drone and a blue high wing Cessna type aircraft (more like an Aeronca?). There was also somebody with an array of flying wings with FPV and a big twin boom foam aircraft which he was running iNav on for the first time.
Early on, we also had a young boy turn up with his parents and sister. I don’t think he could have been more than about 10 years old and he had a brand new, unflown, Ares trainer. I think it was a Gamma Pro 2, but I’m not sure. Anyway, we helped them out with it as the controls were a bit stiff, there really wasn’t much elevator movement and the battery was free to move around inside. After sorting out the elevator and stuffing the battery with tissue, the balance was fine, all the controls worked fine, so there were no excuses left. The thing that makes me nervous with this type of aircraft is the automatic control system. Personally, I would do the first flight on manual, trim it and then let the beginner loose with the computer backup system. It even has a panic button on the top left of the controller in case they need it. However, it’s always a bit of a risk flying a new aircraft and I was mindful that the boy wanted to fly it, so I launched and he had the transmitter. The launch was fine, it just needed a touch of up elevator from him to fly away, but he ripped the undercarriage off on the ground before it escaped terra firma. It flew around quite impressively, though, and I never touched the controls once. He landed OK, then we had another go at launching, this time without the undercarriage. It got away without incident this time and he was flying around quite happily while I was standing next to him watching and talking to his mum. He seemed to be getting the hang of it, but really wasn’t concentrating on what he was doing very much. I’m annoyed as I should have been paying more attention, but his mum distracted me and he managed to fly it into the ground. I saw him do it before it happened, but there was no way I could prevent it. The damage wasn’t too bad, but the wings had parted company at the centre join were the spar locks the two halves together and the tail had snapped off. Looking at the huge strake on the fin, though, you could easily glue it back together and use that as a strengthener. The wings were also easily fixable, so, hopefully, we’ll see them back soon. I did offer him a go of my RS352, but he really didn’t want to. I might be wrong, but I think his mum might be more interested in flying planes than he is.
Because of the clocks going forward this morning, I lost some of my flying time, so I only got two flights with the RS352. They were a good two flights, though, as the plane was feeling very aerobatic. Obviously, it hadn’t flown much this year because of the weather, so it was making the most of the zero wind conditions, even if it was grey and murky and looking like it could rain any minute.
Finally, I have a new solarfilm iron, so I can finish off the autogyro repairs. As you can see from the pictures, it’s now got the film on the nose and fin, plus some white lines to hide the join. All I need to do now is to cover the blade and balance it.
I was very surprised at how different it was using the new iron compared to my old one. You obviously need to learn where to put the temperature dial, but the new one has a much more slippery shoe and the temperatures for the profilm I’m using are all in the top range of the dial. The quality of my covering on the blue nose is appalling, which is strange when you think that I’ve been covering aircraft like this for the last 30 years. I just liked my old iron.
One last thing, but the solarfilm iron wasn’t the only new thing I bought this week. I’ve also got a new Taranis QX7S which I’m going to use for the quadcopters and indoor flying.