Tuesday, 30 July 2019

I have been proper lazy with the Ol' Blog!!

I've done a few competitions since the last entry on my blog......

First up was the Welsh Winter League finale..
It was a blowy one!

To start with, it was quite a beautiful morning really. Sunny skies, 10 - 13m/sec wind reasonably square on the west face of Mickeys at the Bwlch and 10 of us to enjoy it.

To save our legs we decided to fly two rounds each flight with a 'crow though' to simulate launching our second run. The course was set up pronto and we were up and running after a few maiden flights and setting checks.  One of those maidens was Stefan Bertschi who made the trip from Zurich again to compete with his new Device. I think it's a beautiful plane!

Not sure if it was his maiden flights or not, but Mike Evans competed with his new Pitbull2 and seemed to get along with it very well! 

It’s been a few weeks (Months now!!! Hahahaha) since the comp and I have been very slack about doing this report. So to cut a long story short, I had a pretty horrible comp.
I could not get the distance to the bases correct and did many spectacular cuts and recoveries all adding precious time to my runs. I got more and more frustrated with my inability to fly the complete 100m required of each leg that I pushed harder and harder until in our final round I forced the tail into the grass when I pulled elevator and the tail stopped, tore the fuselage in half and spat the wings, joiner and ballast all over the hillside.

I was really disappointed in myself as there was absolutely no need to be grass cutting.
Graeme told me during the day, also afterwards, that I had one of the best looking turns for the conditions of the day and that it was a shame I kept cutting. I didn’t feel that way at all. I didn’t think I got any decent air and was just pushing for as good a position as I could. I obviously pushed too hard. It seemed as though quite a few others were struggling with the bases as I don’t remember seeing so many cuts in an event before.

The standout for the competition for me was Stefan and his Device. What a combination! Brilliant turns and accurate flying won the day comfortably! Look how short he made the course seem in this fantastic run:

Joel was his usual outstanding self but wasn’t able to catch Stefan so remained second and Graeme Mahoney had a stellar competition taking third place from a very spritely Mike Evans.

I believe Graham Hill and Bruce Hudson set new personal best times and I really enjoyed watching Chris Studley fly his needle124. It may take some time to beat his PB from League event 4, but I thought he was flying better again this time.
Dave Rumble had a very good comp as did Tony Livingstone.
Below are the results from the day.

On a personal note I want to say a massive, ginormous, heartfelt THANKYOU to Tony. He gave me a fuselage for my Precision which has expedited my repair efforts and also gave me a bargain basement deal on a Jedi which you will see me larking about with at the next competition I attend.

That is all for the Winter League 2019! What a winter!

I hoped to hang on to my second place in the league by the end of round 5 but flying like a pleb will not make those hopes come to fruition…
Mike Evans and Graeme Mahoney both overtook me in the League for their well deserved second and third places respectively and Joel West was our Winter League Champion of 2019 with wins in 3 from 4 completed events!!!

Congratulations Joel!!!

Here are the results for the Winter.

It was fantastic getting this many events completed this winter. A MASSIVE thanks to Joel for continuing to organise the Welsh Winter Leagues.

There are some videos of some runs from some of the guys on my Youtube channel including the maiden of Stefan's Device. It's a very beautiful plane!! Here is the playlist from the day:

Next up was the first attempt at BMFA 1 from the Long Mynd in Shropshire. A dash to the slope after a night shift with only the Needle 124 to compete with, as I hadn't finished setting up the Jedi or repairing the Precision, was very nearly an extremely successful trip but the weather was not going to play nicely. We called it a day after completing only three of the required 4 rounds.
A tease of a competition as I was in second place at the conclusion of our day. I was really pleased with myself after that as I had to fly in VERY marginal conditions with 1kg of ballast in the Needle as I had built out the possibility of adding the counterweight for the light joiner ("She'll be right" was WRONG!!).

Up next was the North of England Open.
This was a 3 day event on the European Tour and a World Cup event.
I was delighted to be a part of team Smoggies with John Phillips and Rich Bago.
I managed to have all three planes ready to fly for this event! The Precision was still my number one choice and she faithfully saw me through the entire weekend without falling apart.
I had an astronomically bad start to the 3 day comp! I cut twice in my first run while also having very poor air and my next two runs were very tentatively flown to have me in 28th place after the first day. Light years different to my team mates who were 1st and 3rd after day 1. I was properly embarrassed!!
Day 2 was equally difficult with very light conditions but I managed to fly much better and claw my was from nearly last to 16th after another 6 rounds with a couple of top 5 places. Rich slipped from 1st to 4th place and JP from 3rd to 5th at the completion of the second day.
Days 1 and 2 were split between slopes in the main bowl at the Hole of Horcum. Day three was to be a much blowier affair on the infamous Levisham slope! Model attrition rates are generally quite high on that slope!!
I managed to make it through the day without any damage!!! I was also very glad the temperature had dropped as I was in desperate need of some shade on my arms after neglecting the suncream on days 1 and 2..... twat.

I flew really well on the Sunday. I also had some good air in the last couple of rounds and finished in a very credible 8th place for the competition. Narrowly missing out on catching Rich who placed 7th and JP managed to just miss out on beating Pete Gunning for the Title! Huge congrats to Pete!! Awesome result!
Those 3 places meant that we smashed the team competition and I got my first ever trophy for F3F!!!

Photos courtesy of Rc-soar (Mike Shellim)

Here is a playlist of a few vids from the Saturday. I was too busy launching and flying most of the weekend to get many vids sorry.

My next F3F excursion was the 2nd BMFA league event for this year which was held in Wales this last Sunday. It was a super tricky day with WNW winds meaning we were flying in thermic and crossed wind all day on the Westerly slope of Mickeys at the Bwlch. It was a great call by the Directing team to head straight to the Westerly slope and wait a little for the forecast swing west. All day in crossed conditions on the Icecream slope would have been very uncomfortable.

29 of us managed to complete 8 rounds and Andy Burgoyne took the win with some outstanding flying! I managed to finish 5th which I was very pleased with! The Pike Precision didn't put a foot wrong all day. I had a very enjoyable, yet challenging day.

Speaking of well-behaved, I took my two kids along for their first taste of F3F as spectators and they said (probably just to please Dad...) that they weren't bored and enjoyed themselves!!! Hopefully some of the next generation flyers in the making!

I took some videos from the start of the day, here is a playlist from my youtube channel:

I want to say a massive thanks to Rachel for 'encouraging' me to get this written. Also for her words of wisdom such as "imagine how well you'd have done if you actually practiced..."

Seriously tho, she is an absolute star and I'm very, very lucky!

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Welsh winter league for Feb 2019

17th Feb 2019 Welsh Winter League.

We arrived to flyable conditions on the back of the Wrecker and quickly set up the course with the hope of getting at least one round completed before the clouds dropped enough to make landing unsafe. We made it to the pilots briefing.....

The forecasts and met office radar suggested that we were looking to be clear just after lunch and that the wind direction would change to have us on Mickey's. So we decamped and went and waited out the rain and clag in our cars.

I actually enjoy these times a little, I'd obviously rather be flying, but it gives a great opportunity to catch up with your mates as when the competition is on we are flying or launching or on a base. Especially when there are only a small number of pilots.

We caught up with each other til around 1pm when the sky lifted and stopped dumping on us, set up the course in no time and were underway with Joel West leading from the front. I struggled to find my line, especially in the first couple of rounds, leading to messy and slow runs. 

Rachel's wise words were ringing in my ears all afternoon.... "you don't practice anywhere near enough..." as they rung true.

Joel had a spectacular day with his very neat and smooth reversals yielding 6 sub 36 second runs with a 30.61 run his fastest. He won the day while winning 4 of the 6 rounds we flew. Congrats Joel!

I actually got that run on video! My phone has been having a bit of a meltdown lately.... It started in focus..... Wind noise warning!!!

Graeme Mahoney had a solid day too! He managed to top the group of 6 pilots within a poofteenth of taking second place. His best time for the day was a blistering 32.52 which gave him the win in the 4th round after also winning the 3rd.

Mike Evans had a relatively consistent day with his Jazz and Shinto to take the third place. His slower runs coincided with Graeme's fastest once, costing him second place.

I was off to a very slow start as I eluded to earlier but managed to get faster during the day with 35's and 36's. This clawed me up to 4th place just beating Mike Shellim, Dave Rumble and Tony Livingston. 
I had a play with reversals and they seemed to work best on the day although my EM line did bear some fruit when it was low and away. I think in one run I managed to do all the available turn styles plus a new one that rolled towards the slope....
I was gutted to find in the spreadsheet that my fastest time of the day (35.32) was my discard as it was against Joels 30.61. Them's the breaks!
I finally tested out my Xmas present and the Big Blue Brolly worked a treat, thanks Rachel!

Chris Studley had a stand out day! He managed to go sub40 twice with his Needle124 and set his PB first to 38.69 and then to a staggering 36.51 with some very beautifully flown reversals. Well done Chris!

Tony (33.88) and Mike S (32.57) also set new personal best times. We had 15m\sec wind pretty much all afternoon with some of it warmer than others effecting the times a little, but not a great deal.

Massive thanks to everyone for mucking in to get the competition flown! 

Roll on March!

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Winner Winner!

Southern Winter League at Whitesheet 27th Jan 2019.

Another post-nightshift competition opportunity for me presented itself this week with some blowy conditions forecast for Whitesheet Hills in Kilmington for January’s attempt at a Southern Winter League F3F competition. I had a sufficiently chilled nightshift and headed off armed with lots of caffeine, my trusty Pike Precision, Fx-32 tranny, lots of ballast and  the Needle 124 as a back-up.

I arrived safe and sound pretty much on time and 18 hopeful competitors made their way to the NW slope of Whitesheet Hill. I forgot to take my anemometer out to the slope so I didn’t get to measure the breeze, but it was WAAAAY more than just a stiff one. Our magnanimous CD for the the Day (Stu Wallace) took some measurements and I believe they ranged from a measly 7m/sec  to a whopping 48m/sec! I put most my ballast in the Precision at the start of the day and didn’t change it. I am only running brass in the Precision and could have put more in the front of the joiner. This changes my CoG quite a bit forward from my 107mm and I am a bit loathed to do that…

It was great to catch up with so many pilots I haven’t seen for ages and also meet a few for the first time. It was my first time flying with a couple of stalwarts from the heyday of F3F in Greg Lewis and Dave Woods and I hadn’t seen Tony Robertson for years so it was great to see him at a comp, no matter how briefly….

I was really impressed by the turnout on Sunday, especially with the less-experienced racers. Winds that strong are a challenge to fly in and add to the stresses of being new to competing. I thought they all did an outstanding job!

Round 1 was a learning experience for me (actually, all the rounds were a learning experience for me!) as the hill shape and wind strength combination we were presented with isn’t one I have had before. The closest I can think of was Levisham way back in 2010-ish. Fortunately I found landing a LOT easier at Whitesheet! I posted a 40.2 for 4th in the round and Graeme Mahoney kicked off the comp in style with a blistering 36.75. Greg Lewis and Nigel Witchalls posted sub 40’s for 2nd and 3rd in the round. Allen Elliott flew his Needle 124 to his fastest time of the day of 44.01 also Stuart Wallace with his Needle 115 posted his fastest time of 46.74.

I managed to get some extra lift in round 2 which complimented my line and the flowing style I have been concentrating on to give me a 35.95 and my first round win. Greg and Nigel both went sub40 again to take 3rd and 2nd with Andy Burgoyne also in the 39’s for 4th. John Phillips broke his Pink Camo thing on landing and found a dead battery in his spare plane so was pubward bound from there. After missing round 1, Tony graced us briefly with his flying presence, then after a servo issue for one plane and a slight re-shuffle of composite material on another, he was off to the pub with JP.

I had some soggy air and over-flew the plane, trying to hurry it through the turns, resulting in a 50.08 and 10th in round 3. “that should be my discard” I stupidly thought… Mike Evans flew beautifully directly before me to take the round win with a 40.76. Closely followed by Dave Woods with his Pitbull2 and Nigel Witchalls who was having a stellar competition so far with his Pitbull. Graham Hill was performing admirably with his McMeekan Falcon for his first (?) F3F comp (Incredible conditions for number 1!) Very smooth and consistent all day.
I managed to win the 4th round with a 37.61 with Greg hot on my heals again. I only got to see brief parts of Greg’s flights as he was directly after me, kicking of each round. I had to land very efficiently to see him and when I did, he looked completely at ease and smack-bang on the bases all day. Graeme Mahoney and his Pitbull2 took third place in the round with a 40.74.

Ian Falconer flew his fastest time of the day with a 39.54 and 2nd in round 5 along with Mark Passingham who took the round win with a 37.71 with his Freestyler5 and Mike Evans 3rd with his Shinto and 39.54. I had some soggy air, but tried to fly smoother again and limited the damage to only a 43.99. Stu had been struggling with a bad neck all day and had to succumb to the pain and sit out the rest of the day from here. There isn’t much worse than being freezing cold and in pain. Hats off to Gromit for sticking it out to the end of the day!! Hope your neck gets better soon!

Round 6 was a memorable one for me. Halfway through the run I reckon I was on track for a run in the mid 40’s and then WHACK!!! The Precision took off like a Stabbed Rat or a Scolded Cat from base A and just kept getting faster each time it hit the thermal on base A! The thermal hadn’t hit base B and the wind direction difference was such that I wasn’t really turning against the wind and I had 4 legs of the fastest I have ever experienced a Radio Controlled Glider go! I ended up posting a 36.03 and won that round! I’m pretty sure I had just DS’d the edge of a thermal. Greg posted a 39.61 for 3rd and Mike Evans took 2nd just prior to my run with 39.26.

My Thermal created havoc with Round 7 and it was only the second round without a sub40. Greg took 1st with 40.25 closely followed in the order and time by Nigel Witchalls with a 40.81 and third was Andy Burgoyne with 40.87. Pete Burgess had his best time this round with his Pitbull2. The wind was extremely strong for this round and everyone had difficulty getting their planes to penetrate off the slope at all! Landing was a challenge and crow brakes or butterfly was NOT required! I managed a 48.96 this round and couldn’t get the Precision into a place where it would gain any energy. This still wasn’t my discard round though! Bruce Hudson was flying a plane I didn’t recognise but it can’t have had more than a 2m wingspan and weighed no more than a few feathers taped together. He had his second fastest flight of the comp in this round with a very respectable 52.94 (only topped in round 2 by 29 hundredths of a second)

Greg stood up after my 48 to kick off round 8 and had one of those flights I wish I had seen. He managed to set the slope record for the NW face of Whitesheet with a 33.85 run which must have looked absolutely stunning! I managed a 42.81 this round which wasn’t really too bad, but compared to a 33….. it became my discard. Rachel sent me a message asking how my day was going and I told her it was a tough but brilliant day and I’m doing pretty well but I think I might require some luck to win. I was right to assume I was in second place, but I didn’t know just how close it was at the top!! I only had 230-odd points to make up on Greg! Dave Woods took 2nd in the round with Graeme Mahoney 3rd (both with sub 40 flights) and Mike Evans set his best time of the day with a 38.28.

Round 9 was some of the ‘some luck’ I needed. I managed a very fast 35.89 run. I had found the place on the slope that was working best for me and obviously had some good conditions as although Greg came second, he was nearly 8 seconds behind me with a 43.69. Dave Woods kept his climb to the top on track posting the 3rd fastest time of 44.01 with Mike right on his Pitbull2’s heels with a 44.36.

Greg Lewis got us underway in the 10th and final round with a 47.57 while I was landing. 
I didn’t see his flight. 

I didn’t ask him how he went. 

I didn’t want to know. 

It didn’t matter. 

I just needed to fly my line as best I could. 

Jess Nichols was one of the newer F3F pilots at the comp and he had his best flight of the day with a 49.89 and Dave Woods also flew his best time of 37.55 for second in the round. Mike Evans secured 3rd in the round with 43.17.
I stepped up after Mike and the Precision let me put her on the same track as the previous round and I managed to coax her around for a fantastic 34.54!! It was all I could do. We just had to wait for the results to be published.



I finally won my first official event! SO pleased!

I forgot to take a camera so I don't have any pics or videos for you, sorry.

Andy Burgoyne took a video of my final flight. It looks so slow! A better first leg and maybe the fastest time of the day?

Bruce Hudson took a few vids too and for some reason they are a little steppy, but they give a little indication of the day. The first one is me, second is Mike Evans, third is Andy Burgoyne and I'm not sure about the 4th sorry. Possibly Ian Falconer?

I had an amazing day and want to say a huge thanks to Stu and the Whitesheet club for hosting the 4th attempt at a winter league and for welcoming me along. Thanks also to Pete Burgess, Allen Elliott and Graeme Mahoney for sharing the centre duties with Stu.

Can't wait for the next event!! I could get used to this winning thing!

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 rc-soar.com.

here are a few more pics tho 😊

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