Monday, 3 December 2018

Spring Cup 2019!

Annual leave is booked for the Spring Cup!

Rachel is coming along with me for a week away, including a long weekend of flying some F3F in the Three Cities area of Poland (Mechelinki)! So excited!

I've watched videos of the Spring Cup F3F countless times and can't wait to take part. Fingers crossed for some good F3F weather. I wonder what sacrifices work .... 🙏😜😇

Looking forward to a bit of exploring of the area too as Rachel and I will extend our break for the rest of the week 😊

Spring Cup 2011

Spring Cup 2012 

Spring Cup 2013

Spring Cup 2014

Spring Cup 2016

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Repairs are coming along :-)

Repairs page has had a couple of updates since the winter league comp.

Should be done soon (ish) 😂😂😆

Rachel has asked that I put some paint on it this time..... We'll see 😊

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Welsh Winter League Nov 2018

Finished work at 0730 and headed up through Nantymoel to the Wrecker car park to meet 19 other hardy and hopeful F3Ffers. Greeted by the Clag and armed with a promising forecast we wandered out to the Crest to set up the course and prepare ourselves for what would hopefully be a day to remember.

The fog was clearing as we set up the course (handy for aiming across the valley! ) and after a test flight by Greg Dakin to test the ceiling and landing area, a pilots briefing by our esteemed CD, coordinator and all round good guy Joel West, we were good to go!!! Les Wood had the dubious honour of kicking things off.

Round one was a nervy one for me and after watching lots of flights in the mid 30's I was disappointed to card a 40.32 second flight. I took out a little bit of ballast before the next round as I felt a teeny bit heavy (playing mind games with myself more likely!). I was flying the Pike Precision.

I couldn't believe how quick all the planes were going on the Crest today! The noise as they ripped through the compression was beautiful! Here is a run by Greg Dakin as exhibit A for the noise!

I had been practicing a more flowing style of turn for a while now, it paid off in round 2 as I broke my long standing PB of 36.18 with a 34.06, with a cut on Base B...!!!
I didn't feel like I made the most of the air at all. More to come! 
Graeme Mahoney took the round win with a very rapid 32.14
This isn't that flight, but it IS Graeme 😊

Round 3 was a better flight for me with the same style and less errors to record a lower PB of 32.66! Getting better!

Round 4 was 32.88. Joel was so close to going sub 30, this is one of his flights in the 31 or 32 second bracket.

Round 5 had a massive cut, bunt, recovery that cost me quite a few seconds for a 35.29. Joel set the fastest time of the day with a 29.75 in this round for his 4th round win and 3 in a row to here. Again this is Joel, but not the fastest flight sorry. I missed filming that one.

Round 6 was my best flight of the day with a 30.05!!!! So close to going sub 30! ! and it was a round win for me. I'm not sure which round it was in, but one of the highlights of the day was the extra 90 degrees turn Mark Passingham inexplicably added on his 9th turn! It made for an exciting finish to his run! I did manage to catch that one on film! Sorry (not sorry!) Mark 😁

Round 7 I tried too hard and flew my worst flight (still a 33.xx tho!). I couldn't get the plane to exit my turns the way I wanted it to and I think it was due  to trying too hard to get under 30. We don't get the opportunity that often 😁. Greg Dakin took the honours in the 7th round with his fastest of the day at 31.80

Andy Burgoyne was in the centre for most of my flights and couldn't believe how easy my flights looked! He described them as metronomic 😊, I have to say that is a massive difference to the way most people would have previously described my flights 😂

I made a mistake on my landing after my last flight and now have some repairs to do on the Precision which performed incredibly well!

I have to say a massive thanks to Stefan! We went for a fly together on Friday afternoon and he helped me to come to the settings I ended up with for this comp. It was great to see him make the trip over from Zurich again and fly so aggressively so well!

It's a shame landing takes so long on the Crest, I only got to see 2/3 of the flights and I didn't get anywhere near enough on video. The ones I have are embedded in here and in a playlist on youtube

Now to the results! Joel took a commanding win.
I finished Second!!!!!!! And Stefan Bertschi was 3rd.

There were so many PB's set today! It was fun to watch Dave Rumble get so close so many times, beat it by 0.2 and then finally beat it by a couple of seconds.
It was awesome to see Chris Studley at an f3f comp again, and great to catch up with everyone and meet a few new faces.

I was borrowing Rachel's fantastic little camera for this event and it took me a while to suss it out so I haven't got many photos and the vids are a little grainy. I'll try to get them better for next time.
In the meantime I am sure Mike Shellim has taken some pics and done a report too at

here are a few more pics tho 😊

Looking forward to next months one now! Hopefully it'll be as exciting as this one 😎

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Futaba FX-32 transmitter

After a bit of frustration with the Taranis and an opportunity to get some extra funds by letting go of a plane, I bit the bullet on purchasing myself a 'new' transmitter and on Sunday I managed to organise picking it up.
I have always trusted Futaba transmitters and the FX-32 came up for sale on the BARCS forum for a reasonable price, so I snapped it up. 

Rachel was working nights early this week, so I had some 'nerd time' on Sunday and Monday night where I was able to change my Needle 124 and Pike Precision over to the Futaba S-FHSS protocol. I chose that as the receivers for that system, the FX-32 does FASST, FASSTest and S-FHSS, were significantly cheaper than the FASSTest and I actually don't care about telemetry in my F3F planes. I do now, however, have telemetry if I ever decide to fly jets or large scale stuff.

The setting up of the planes took me about 4 hours each over the two nights and is relatively simple although somewhat different to the Taranis and the FF9 I had previously. If I just wanted to get them flying, I reckon I could have done them in under an hour. I like to have different conditions (flight modes) and snap flap and differential and other performance-improving stuff, so it takes a little longer.

Today was the first opportunity to test out the new radio so I went up to the Bwlch after finishing work at 1300 hrs to fly on a crossed Icecream slope. I knew the forecast was WNW and figured that I could get some 'marginal conditions' practise and set-ups done.

The conditions were as I expected. Quite crossed from the west (left) with the occasional straightening and also getting worse from time to time as the very weak thermals had their effect.

I was very glad to have the M+M TransMitt cannibalised to fit the FX-32 as it was quite chilly up on the slopes today. It was a beautiful afternoon though and I was very pleased to have had a trouble-free set-up session. Obviously both planes will need more tweaking, but I can go and enter a comp with confidence now.

Speaking of comps. Winter is now upon us! It's time for the winter Leagues to kick in and I am hoping to take part in the Welsh Winter League events. The first one is on Saturday 17th November. I can't wait!!!

Thursday, 18 October 2018

6 P's

Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

Rachel and I intended to walk up Pen Y Fan yesterday from the Lower Neuadd Reservoir near Pontsiscill.
Dogs packed, Precision packed, boots, coats, hats etc, all packed for our 'no more than 4 hour' walk.
We headed off armed with a picture card/map with some quite detailed directions.
The only vague direction was how to get to the start point. 'Follow the small lane north from Pontsiscill to the car park near the reservoir'.
Anyway, the map suggested using an OS map, gave the reference for the suggested map, and I ignored it.

We parked up at the reservoir, donned our walking boots, popped our packs on and headed off, following the very clear directions up the bank on our left to the escarpment.... (1330 hrs)

The first 4 or 5 km's of our supposedly 11km round trip were spent discovering that we were never going to find the magical escarpment and we headed for Corn Du and Pen Y Fan in the distance.
We found some lovely places about. We even thought we might have found where we should have started our walk from...

It was challenging terrain, long grass over wet, boggy marshland type stuff. The Yorky (Fred) needed carrying through some of the worst parts.

At about 9 Km's into the walk, the map came into chrystal-clear view and it's accuracy was shown to be precise! We could see the start point below us as we stood on top of the magical Escarpment.
I was so chuffed that I had to have a quick flight in the very light conditions, but awesomely beautiful scenery.

Now the actual walk could start properly (1600 hrs).
One of the first top spots we got to would be incredible for DS! NE or SW winds, just for fun though. SW will nearly always bring hill fog. NE is chilly!!

Next peak was Corn Du. Those steps up the face were hard yesterday! The boys were chuffed for a break.

Got to the top of Pen Y Fan at 1800hrs. It's such a beautiful place to be, in most conditions, and yesterday was no different. I'd forgotten about the Upper Neuadd Reservoir ever having water in it. It has beed drained to protect the Grade 2 listed Dam Wall and probably wont be filled again. We could still see it and where it should be. It would be a lovely walk from there.

Downhill time and a race to the well marked roady-path before we couldn't see any more.

Discretion won over valour as we decided to leave Cribyn for next time. It is STEEEEEEP! and it was already pretty dark as we reached our decision point for ascent or not (1825).

Luckily, Rachel and I are pretty fit (on a global scale.....) and what we lack in fitness, we make up for in stubbornness and pig-headed determination.

We dragged our sorry limbs for the next three hours passed the suggested start point. Passed the suggested car park. Passed a massive reservoir and along another reservoir through a pine forest and finally back to the car (21xx hrs, I forgot to look). Fortunately it was all on an actual road once we got down to the Lower Neuadd Reservoir.

I printed out a series of OS maps to figure out our route. I still can't quite figure the part in the bottom left, reckon it was further. Next time I'll print the maps before doing the walk. What a Pillock!
A crude measurement of our route comes in at 23km's. No wonder I'm a bit tender today! Hopefully you can see our route in pen on the maps. 

We love an adventure!!!

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Lucky boy with the Needle yesterday!

I did some more setting up yesterday on the cliffs near the farmhouse in Southerndown in pretty good lift although slightly crossed.
Got the Precision going well, although the ballast is in front of the CG so the heavier it gets, the more it pulls up. The main tube is pretty close to the CG, so I might just get some tungsten and forget the joiner ballast.
There has to be something else causing it....
The Needle 124 was going great! Then control got sluggish and and the brakes were only 1/2 deploying..... dying battery!!!!
Quick emergency landing done safely.

Today I made up a 2 cell LiIon battery and popped it in the nose with a 5V BEC and balanced her up. Good to go again!

More setting up and figuring out to do.

I'll be looking for another transmitter soon. The FF9 is a bit too long in the tooth. I'm thinking and FX30 or the handheld version.
I'm open to suggestions and reasonably priced offers 😆😇

Friday, 5 October 2018

Mickey's Westerly after work ;-)

After my disaster at the Welsh Open this year I had to get some time on the sticks with the ol' trusty FF9. Setting up the planes will take longer as each adjustment requires landing 😱.

Actually my landings are pretty good now 😂.

I had a quick flight on the Wrecker the other day with Andrzej (awesome to catch up with him!!) and after measuring the CG after managing to just get the needle down safely, it was found to be at 117mm 🙈..... I fly pretty rearward at 100 on the needle normally... 
so she was a little sketchy.

Anyhoo, I managed to sneak up to the Westerly slope of Mickeys on Wednesday after an early finish at work for some much needed stick time and set up time on the Pike Precision and Needle 124. The Westerly of Mickey's is ideal as the landing area is the nicest we have and it was worth the extra walk past a flyable Mickey's (Sorry Graham Wookman). 

CG on the Noodle was set at 100 and the only thing to get right now is the settings and travels. That'll take a little while I think.

The Precision gave me a few headaches tho. I thought I had set the CG at 107 and couldn't for the life of me figure out why I needed to add so much down elevator for straight and level flight. It turns out that I had set it at 97... 
I'm not sure that moving it back to 107 will have the desired effect on her flight characteristics, but we will see next time I take her out.

After getting both of them set to a level where I am confident that they won't just fall out the air, I am less fussy about where I fly next 😊

It was lovely to meet Graham (Sorry if it is spelt Graeme 😇) and share the walk, sky and a chat with him. He was flying a McMeekan Falcon and a Pike F3J plane (Superior?).
I didn't take any vids and only managed a couple of photos.
We had some Welsh Clag to play with too.... for a change.