Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Maiden done!

I popped up to the IceCream slope after a 2pm finish at work today for the test flights of the Needle124 and Pike Precision.
The conditions were lovely, cold, but lovely.
Precision was first to go and I launched her empty into a decent blow. I had nothing to worry about except my own ability! She was really a pussycat.
A bit of larking about, some setting of elevator compensation, snapflap and aileron differential and it was landing time. Easy as pie!

The needle was next. It was a very short flight. 2 things wrong were a very rearward CoG and I'd forgotten to reduce the elevator travel.
I did manage to get it down in one piece, although the fuselage piece was a bit broken....
So back to the Pike and I popped a few hundred grams of ballast in her. The conditions were weakening but she didn't let that worry her at all.

Another 15 minutes or so of hooning around, trying to improve the set up and came away after another fine landing with a few things to think about.

I struggled getting my hands comfortable on the transmitter. I've modified a transmitter tray to fit inside my old Transmitt. I took to the tray with a hacksaw tonight and it is a massive improvement! Comfy again!

I didn't feel like I was getting the desired effect of adjusting the Differential in the Ailerons so I'll reduce the amount of coupled aileron and hopefully reduce the tendency to fly behind me.

The elevator throw was too great so I didn't feel like I was adjusting the snapflap effectively.

I feel really really positive about this plane!!

I do also love the Needle124 and after a quick repair to the Fuz and sorting the CoG back into the early 90's, she'll be right as rain again.

It was awesome to be back on the slopes! So happy!

Saturday, 10 February 2018

I'm READY!!!!

The Needle is completely ready! All painted, fettled control suraces,  set up on the taranis and ballast sorted. I like having a twitchy plane and have set the CG at 105. I've organised my ballast so that when my steel joiner is in, I remove some weight from near the nose. The weight is in for the carbon joiner. The rear ballast compartment is the only one that doesn't shift the CG too savagely.

The Precision is all as ready as the Needle except for paint.

I'm very exciTed to get out and set them up properly for me on a slope. The weather needs to play ball at the right time now. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Precision and Needle are almost ready to go!!

So excited about getting out on the slopes this year!
Probably won't be competing much, still not a great deal of time to spare.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Woah! It's been Frages!!!

I can't believe it's been two years since my last entry on my blog!

Life has been happening and I completely lost my MoJo and the ability to find it or resuscitate it!

My last outing I believe was a very windy Welsh F3F event which I managed to break two models (Needle 124 and Skorp) The Needle is an easy fix and the Skorp was written off.

I still haven't finished repairing the Pike Precision, need to repair the needle and should pop the radio gear back in the willow2.

I now have a garage again and am getting the itch to get back out on the slopes. I don't imagine I'll have the time to compete regularly in F3F, but maybe a comp or two every now and then if the stars all align and the moons of Saturn go double time.

It's gunna take me some time to figure out how to use the Taranis again too.....

Hopefully write to you all again soon.


Thursday, 26 November 2015

Pike Precision, Needle 124 and Ceres

I acquired a damaged Pike Precision and have started to undertake the repairs. Some details are on the repairs page.

Not sure if I have let you all know that I have also managed to get a Needle 124 too! That one is flying and only needs a little bit of paint on the fuselage.

A substantially broken Ceres is also on its way to me which will be repaired, ready to be thrashed on the F3F course!

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Report from the German Open 2015

German Open F3F 2015
Island of Rügen, Germany

German Open 2015 day 1

After watching videos of pilots wrestling their gliders along the edge of the Turbulator at the inaugural F3F World Championships in 2012, I knew I had to experience the German Open on the same slopes. This year I gave myself that opportunity and took my Willow2 along to see if it was up to the task. Seeing as it was a test, I also took my trusty Skorpion DSL (one plane was never going to be enough!)

1500km in 23 hours was asked of my van and it delivered, although I would have preferred one of the German cars that flew passed me like I was standing still on the unrestricted areas of highway in Germany!!! I nearly made it the entire trip without a sleep and had to stop for a rest about 3 hours from Rügen which timed my arrival at the Turbulator for 6am.

By the time I actually found the Turbulator (it was hiding from me) it was nearly 8am and Carlos Riviera from Venezuela was already making the most of the flyable conditions and getting some quality time on the sticks. To be honest I was expecting quite a few more locals to be at the slope even though it was early as I knew the opportunities to fly were going to become rarer as the day drew on.

The lift was quite light and I had a feeling I would need some weight in the Willow to keep some momentum so I flew for the first flight with 20% ballast. What I didn’t count on was just how narrow the lift band really is on that 6metre slope especially when launching your own plane. Needless to say that this was the only flight I didn’t get someone else to throw my glider towards the sea, rocks and beach with some gusto! It turned out that I actually needed more weight, but I’m glad I didn’t have it in for the first flight.

German Open day 3

Anyway, after successfully finding and utilising the lift I scraped over the trees to the landing area and completed my first flight on the Turbulator without any damage. By mid afternoon I had started to get more comfortable with where to place and keep my model while flying to get the best from it and had plenty of analysis time between flights as we slowly worked our way along the queue. At one time I counted 29 planes for 21 pilots and do wish I had been clever enough to put 2 or 3 planes in the queue, but I wasn’t.

German Open 2015Practice day

I had the pleasure of sharing this weekend with not only a fantastic group of friendly, well-regarded international pilots that I didn’t previously know, but also was one of a cast of four travelling British pilots (I know, I’m not British! But I am a British Pilot ;-)). Martin Newnham, John Phillips and Mark Abbotts all arrived on the slope during the day for some practice too.

German Open 2015 day 1

After a long days travelling and flying it was a relief to get to my accommodation in Goor (Hof Kracht) and pass out for the night (after remembering to charge my blat flatteries!).

First Competition day!

German Open day 2 morning wander

The pilots briefing and welcome was held near the HQ and we all made our way to the Turbulator for the start of the competition in double time. The team organising the German Open had already set the course up by the time we arrived and we were flying very shortly after. The organisation of the event was outstanding.

My first flight was a nervy one and Martin managed to catch some of it on video.

I did get better as the day drew on, I promise. Unfortunately there isn’t any video evidence.

I really enjoyed how precise you had to fly and the concentration required to get the most out of your glider. What was immediately clear to me was that I didn’t have the Willow2 set up to carry energy as well as other slipperier planes, and I didn’t have the knowledge, experience or skills to change it. I just flew it how it was and concentrated on flying in my normal aggressive manner.
I think I flew fairly well and provided some entertainment along the way too!

I had hoped to borrow a DSLR with video capability to be able to create a decent movie about my German Open experience. Unfortunately the camera didn’t have video so I only managed to film a few flights on my phone and have popped them in a video of day 1 runs here:

Sorry that the majority are just of the Brits, I didn’t think I had much memory on the phone.

At the end of day one, Andreas Herrig was in first place after 5 very efficient and fantastically flown rounds. Martin and Mark were both pushing for top 10 places by the end of the day and I was managing to keep JP and Daniel Schneider (honorary Brit …. or Mascot, you decide ;-) ) behind me in the running order.

That night I met up with some of the lads for dinner at Zum Kap Arkana (competition HQ) in their restaurant. It was a great multi-national get-together and a top finish to a fantastic first competition day.

There wasn’t much wind predicted for day two and what there was, was later in the day so after the pilots briefing a group of us spent the morning taking in the sights and sounds of Kap Arkana and Vitt. Vitt was a proper little fishing village and the walk along the beach, up the cliff to the lighthouse was lovely. There was an annual fun run around Kap Arkana that we managed to watch the start of too (I quite like Lycra on fitties).

German Open day 2 morning wander

Competition day 2!

Our aim for Saturday afternoon was to try to get a round flown so we met after lunch at the Vitt slope and tried to get started. The conditions were light but legal so Antek Kania showed us the way with a test flight and we started round 6 directly after. The conditions were extremely light and by the time it came to be my turn I was very nervous about hoiking my Willow2 over the edge. I was right to be nervous.

Before the start of the round I had a good look at the course and planned my flights. I was going to be particularly aggressive as I thought I could get a little bit of an advantage by using the dead air behind the trees on the right side base. Lucky I had a plan, because that was about the only line I could get enough height for!
I struggled to get the plane above ankle height for the entire flight and was picking little gaps between trees and branches.
My flight was cut short after forgetting about the little tree in the centre of the course at the height of the slope edge which I clipped. 

This clippage slowed the Willow down enough that I was unable to avoid the next little tree on the entry to the base, whose impact made it impossible to fly over the big tree on the base. Doh!
The Willow emerged unscathed from its session of tree-hugging except for a little ding in the leading edge! Lucky me!

As I popped my head back up to the top I asked everyone if anyone had recorded my shenanigans on video, unfortunately no one had, so you’ll just have to imagine it!

You can imagine my dismay at hearing that the conditions had now deteriorated to below legal, but my flight still counted because they were legal for my flight. Well 30 minutes later dismay turned to delight when we were told that the 1st attempt at round 6 was cancelled!! Woop-woop! Lucky me!

During the break I met a lovely boy and could feel myself falling in love instantly……………. His name was Genghis and he was beautiful! If I ever get my own dog, I think it will have to be an Alsatian x Husky!
German Open day 3

We managed to complete 2 rounds before the sun set. None of the flights were blistering but it was a really beautiful day and I couldn’t have wished to be anywhere else. Also I didn’t land in any more trees, bonus!

Andreas Herrig was leading, David Stary was second and Helge Borchert third at the end of day 2. I had managed to hold off Daniel Schneider and John Phillips while Martin was managing to fend off Mark Abbotts just outside the top 10.

Here is a stitching of flights from the second day:

All the flights I caught on film are also individually uploaded to youtube if you'd rather look there!

TUD had organised a spectacular banquet. The food was delicious and the company was top notch. The social side of this event only added to what was a fantastic trip.

Third competition day!

There was a similar amount of wind on day 3 as there was on day 2 but the direction had us back on the Turbulator and with only 6 metres of cliff to generate lift the decision was made to have 4m/s consistently to start the competition. That strength never materialised and the final result was as it stood from the end of day 2.

I took gazillions of photos and have put them on Flickr if you would like to have a look and I also made a little montage type video with no runs below:

I’d really like to thank all the Guys and Girls from the TUD club for organising a fantastic event. It was amazing to have the course manned by non-flying people and their time and effort was massively appreciated. 

I’d also love to thanks all the pilots I met for being incredibly friendly people and helping me to feel at ease and welcomed. Huge thanks also to John, Martin, Mark, Daniel, Arne and Peter for sharing this experience with me.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Videos of F3F runs from the German Open 2015

I've condensed the videos I took of F3F runs at the German Open into two videos.
The first one is day 1 on the Turbulator and I needed to mask the wind noise with a soundtrack.
The second has a beautiful accompaniment of the dulcet tones of F3F in light conditions.
Grab a cuppa and enjoy!