Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Extreme Cliff Soaring!

It's that man Phil Taylor at it again with his Extreme F3F in Devon... Since moving to Devon Phil has found a clutch of fantastic cliff sites which I've been able to enjoy with him since making the move down myself. With the amount of flying that Phil's been putting in on the Extreme this year, I reckon we need to watch out for him during the Lundy F3F coming up soon!

And as an aside, Extreme's are BACK in stock once again - if you fancy getting your hands on one of Europe's most competitive F3F models, then give us a call.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

The JART M70 is here!

I'll hand over to the man himself, Reed, to tell you about his new baby...

So this is how it goes: you hear that people want a rudder and flaps and a bigger version of the design and you say, "uh, ok!". To be honest I never needed all of that, I designed the plane as it was because it was all about me, me, me and I only wanted a simple plane that would fit in my car. Besides, I had to build them myself and didn't want to spend the extra time and money to fit flaps and rudder.

But here we are, 6 years later, and I find myself standing on a ridge, holding a 70" molded version of the plane with all of these bits and pieces wagging around, up down left right and all over. Just after launch I can already feel the size of the thing. Obviously I'm very familiar with the 56" wingspan, so having those big wings driving through the air is fascinating. At 72 ounces (yours should be lighter by 6 ounces or so) I'm surprised that the plane flies almost exactly like a 45 ounce standard-size JART, though I shouldn't have been. The extra size has a more than proportional affect on the airframe's efficiency so the numbers and the experience do match in this case.

For the first few minutes I flew with aileron and elevator only, just to get a feel for the handling characteristics. I certainly enjoyed it, and all of the maneuvers in the "teaser" video are with that setup. After a few minutes I decided to add flaps to the aileron movement and suddenly the plane felt more like a standard-size JART - very crisp and decisive in lateral control and overall very tight and neutral.

Then came the biggest surprise of all: the rudder. Honestly, I only added this to the design because a lot of people seemed to want it. For a 56" version I still wouldn't bother, but for this 70" version I thought the rudder might come in handy for inland "slermal" conditions where the pilot ranges out and looks for bubbles of lift away from the ridge and could use a flatter turn. It was a shock to me, though, when I pulled some rudder in on a racing turn and the plane came leaping out of the corner with unexpected energy. What I thought would be a fairly ineffective control surface is actually a very useful tool for keeping the nose straight through the turns and creating a "grippy" feeling, especially coming back from the downwind leg.

Landing this thing is just a breeze, especially if you already know how to land with flaps and/or crow. Once I got the elevator compensation figured out, those big flaps just bring the plane down to a crawl and you can land it on a dime in reasonable conditions. Being new to the flaps game it has taken me a few flights to get it dialed in, but I have a good technique now where I set the plane up behind the ridge and then pull in aileron reflex to kill some energy. Once the plane begins to settle down toward the LZ I pull the flaps in also and pilot the plane down to about waist-high where I pull the flaps out and let the plane sit right down. I missed a bunch of landings trying to learn this method and the poor plane took a lot of abuse dealing with my learning curve. But despite all of the bashing about, I never broke anything and was able to launch immediately every time - she's tough.

There will be many more flights and I'll post my impressions as we go. Can't wait to get her out to one of our DS spots to rev her up on the dark side!

Us too - thanks Reed! Here's a few detail shots in the meantime... check out that Kevlar joiner box!

How big is a MiniVec?

The MiniVec is generally perceived as a 60"er, which doesn't really do it justice. It's actually a 67"er but crucially with a fair bit more wing area. So rather than a small size aerobatic model, it's more like a mid-sized one, and flies that way too! I've overlaid the Sunbird panels - which is a 60"er - to help illustrate this...

Saturday, 19 June 2010

The Sunbird is Back!

We first stocked the Sunbird about a year ago, and whilst it was clear that it is a great 60” design, there were some aspects of it that could benefit from a little production detailing. We are now happy to announce that by working with RCRCM we have not only managed to substantially improve the airframe in several ways, but also get the price right down to £199!

We’ve had a decent weight of carbon wrap put in around the wingseat area and have also specced the front end to be 2.4 ghz friendly, and substantially reinforced with Kevlar – not just glass! We’ve also added a nice beefy incidence pin at the leading edge of the wing to make rigging easier and to ensure that the model retains its precision no matter how heavy the conditions. The Sunbirds also feature the new moulded in elevator bellcrank which guarantees perfect alignment at the back. And despite the fact that this model is superb in light air, it now also caters for the stronger stuff by coming standard with a massive 20mm ballast tube!

Radio-wise, the Sunbird now comes with mildly bumped servo covers so the servo choices are kept wide open. Battery-wise, you’re best off with your choice of 4 or 5 cell AAA cells, with the optional Sloperacer radio tray (£5) already configured for these fitments.

And of course, the most notable change – we've created a new Sunbird logo and Sloperacer scheme – some photos below – enjoy!

Friday, 18 June 2010

BMFA F3F League at Whitesheet

After the first two rounds failed to give a result by round 3 we were getting desperate. Desperate enough for a field of over 30 to register to come to Whitesheet in Wiltshire, regardless of the forecast.

I packed my Strega (now 2.4 ghz friendly) although a maiden/trimming flight was needed with the new 2.4 fuse. Whitesheet is not the highest hill but on the way to the bottom I could tell there was still noseweight to be added - I could tell the air wasn't great! Seems to be becoming a habit of mine! Still no damage done, radio worked fine, and with 10g added, she was back to the way I like her.

Whitesheet isn’t a Welsh hill, but it can be a great place to fly and will really punish mistakes with big time penalties. Although it can be a frustrating venue in some ways for F3F, it certainly provides a completely different kind of racing and helps to give the league a variety it needs.

I won’t go into great detail on the race here, as Mike Shellim gives a very comprehensive report on Mike Shellim's excellent RC Soaring site but I will say that this comp certainly shook things up. I got lucky with a top ten finish, and some big names finished well down the order. John Bennett took the honours with his New Sting, with Simon Thornton showing his ability compete successfully in any conditions by coming in second with his Extreme F3F and Ceres. John Phillips reminded us that he’s always a force to be reckoned with, coming in third with his Predator. Mick Walsh notably reeled in a seriously fast piece of air to record FTD with a time some 5 seconds quicker than anything else posted that day. Also good to see Andy Freeman competing despite having the most awful run of luck lately with having a few years worth of crashes crammed into a couple of weeks.

It was also great to see my good buddy Rocket Ronnie Lampe the Lips taking a round win with his Strega - go Ron!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Ken Phillips Trophy Rnd 2

After topping up my tan at the BMFA league last week, the prospect of sunshine and wind at the same time had me up early and heading for the famous slopes of South Wales and the Ken Philips Trophy competition. If you want to cut your teeth around the bases, this is a great place to start as the atmosphere at these comps is informal and very helpful. My choice of weapon for the trip was my trusty Strega F3F but I just couldn’t help packing the MiniVec as a few lads wanted a go on it – turned out to be a pretty good decision for reasons unexpected!

We ended up on the Ice Cream slope with the wind slightly crossed off to the North. I really like this slope and got lucky with some great air in round 1, more suprisingly I held my nerve and the Strega took the round win and also gave my first sub-40 second time - 39.38s. Very happy! Unfortunately I asked a little too much of the model during a desperate attempt at a cut recovery in the next round which saw me plant her HARD into the ground with nearly 1kg of ballast on board – see The DOH! Page for details... Actually I’m pretty happy with the way the model handled the impact, with the wing surviving in perfect condition.

With the Strega out of action that little Mini Vec was looking at me! So I set about getting some ballast in there, but honestly, I wasn’t expecting too much from the little bird. I mean it’s hardly designed for racing is it?! Well the first round with the MiniVec put paid to that – a 47.xx. I kind of laughed it off as good air, but the next round was a 45.xx and I realised that if I gave her some respect, I might be able to get a decent result and prove that size isn’t everything after all!

And so the comp went on for me and I couldn’t stop smiling. I got to see Knewt flying his Ceres at what seemed to me to be a completely outrageous weight but somehow still making it look light as a feather. Simon Thornton showing everyone the secret of F3F - somehow making all the air look pretty decent even when he got dealt some real lousy stuff. Martin Newnham and his Extreme continues to give inspiration to all F3F newbies - in his first full season Martin’s already had many sub 40’s, qualified for the Viking Race and only just missed the top 20 fly off.

The Extreme looked to be the model most at home in many people’s hands – it was being flown by a number of pilots - Simon Thornton, Martin Newnham and Adam Richardson – the results speak for themselves I think. Mike Evans didn’t get the best luck of the air with his RaceMx, but was given a lovely bit of air right at the death by which time he was flying his Kyril. Think that’s the fastest time for you on that model at 35.xx Mike? Well done mate… Also the fastest time of the day I believe.

One of the great things about the Ken Phillips Trophy is that it’s really there to help new guys get started out in F3F. Simon Kronfeld’s skill around the course with his Skorpion and Acacia II is just building and building – good showing from him, and Martin Newnham’s son Jacob showed us all that it runs in the family with his first F3F comp being handled with some impeccable flying and great anticipation of the bases – something rarely achieved in one’s first competition. John Treble seemed to be very at home with his new Vikos.

However, all was not perfect, and there was a bit of carnage here and there, most notably from Andy Freeman – he experienced possibly the worst way to crash a model, which is to loose sight of it whilst walking back to landing. Sorry mate! But I’m pretty sure that you’re going to be VERY happy with the Breta Furio that you’re picking up to replace it. Adam Richardson also had an unfortunate bit of damage to his RaceMx nosecone which was a complete mystery to all given the perfect landing that preceded it - sulky face in the photos! By the way, thanks to Adam for snapping the photos of the MiniVec whilst I was flying...

So as it turns out I just missed beating our great leader, Tom Satinet, with a MiniVec. So close! But never mind – what a great day, and to cap it all off we had a ball with the MiniVec passing the tx around after the racing finished.

Come and have a go – email us for details and we'll put you in touch with the right people if you’re fancying a go at F3F but you’re not sure how to start – you don’t even need a 3m racing ship to have a go, as I unintentionally demonstrated this weekend!

1 Kevin Newton 12132.74 (1000)
2 Martin Newnham 11979.77 (987)
3 Simon Thornton 11368.74 (937)
4 Adam Richardson 11274.75 (929)
5 Dave Rumble 11065.33 (912)
6 Mike Evans 11034.76 (906)
7 Tom Satinet 10614.62 (875)
8 Warrick Smith 10587.08 (873)
9 Mick Walsh 10553.54 (870)
10 Simon Kronfeld 10182.56 (839)
11 Jacob Newnham 10113.94 (834)
12 Clayton Landells 10083.07 (831)
13 John Treble 9800.16 (808)
14 Andy Freeman 2339.11 (193)

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Extremes available for immediate delivery

The Extreme is possibly the hottest European model available today, with glowing reports coming from the Viking Race 2010 in France being backed up by some great flights in the UK.

Here are the colour schemes available today!