Thursday, 29 April 2010

The MiniVector has arrived!

Yes it looks good in the pictures. But they just can't convey how beautiful this model is. I honestly can't even begin to describe it well enough to do it justice - it is absolutely gorgeous!

Lots of thanks to RCRCM to getting this one done for me in our new Sloperacer scheme - it's already with Adam Richardson getting built ready for the weekend.

Notable things about the model - it is STRONG! The joiner is seriously beefy, and there is no discernable flex in anything at all. The construction is beautifully done - all of the internal joints inside the wing are tidy and well matched and all the panel weights are within a gram of each other side to side. The all moving tail is butter smooth and has absolutely no slop once assembled - quite unusual as one expects a little lateral movement in any all moving tail set-up, so thumbs up there. And the paintwork from RCRCM just seems to get better and better...

And now for the fun stuff - ballast!!! This model takes ballast in the wing, with some rather cute little tubes already installed right on the CG. But it also comes with a 20mm ballast tube for the fuselage. After some headscratching on the best way to use this, we decided to cut it down and use it to carry 5 x 34mm brass slugs. The beauty about using this arguably oversized ballast tube in the fuse is that it actually bridges the width of the fuse at the rear and at the front of the wingseat, effectively acting like two formers, but considerably easier to install!

Servo-wise - again - some nice surprises here - my favourite little digital, the Savox 0255MG fits everywhere an absolute treat! So it couldn't be simpler - 6 of these gets you sorted for £100 on the servo front.

But for now, enjoy these hastily taken pics from yesterday. And fingers crossed for some nice conditions this weekend for a maiden!


Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Andy Burgoyne’s Co Kerry Slope Extravaganza

It’s been 2 years since my last visit to Chris van Schoor in County Kerry, Southern Ireland and many fond memories of that trip are still well placed in my mind. The ability to combine a one day business trip to Dublin and a detour to Chris was just icing on the cake.

However nobody was aware of the sleeping giant in Iceland and when Eyjafjallajokull erupted and chucked shed loads of ash into the atmosphere then travel chaos ensued - how was I going to get to Dublin? Simple - I was booked on the Fastcat ferry - how else do you get 12 gliders over to Ireland of which 3 of them were 4 metres?

Having had some unexpected problems on the Friday at our Dublin office I didn’t actually get on the road until 7pm and then there was the 3 ½ hr drive ahead not helped by the usual Friday rush to escape the city. But despite the best efforts of the Irish motoring public try to either blind me with their headlights or just dawdle along at 40mph I arrived at my destination at about 10.45.

Chris and Lisa were exactly the same as last time I met them and it wasn’t many seconds (literally) that I’d got my first Guinness in my hand. After the customary greetings and conversation things soon got down to what lay ahead for the next 4 days. The weather although nice and sunny (what, no rain - that’s a first!) but there wasn’t much prospect of any wind - the F3F lads back home could already be heard muttering about transport costs to the first event and how could they make an early warning call to cancel.

In the intervening 2 years Chris has been a busy lad exploring all parts of County Kerry - it does help being a local planner as your job requires you to go out and about to inspect various bits of the county (model at the ready as well) . His searches had not been in vain and he told me of a bowl about 30 minutes away that he wanted to try and would suit the north easterlies we were expecting. The distances travelled on this trip were significantly less than 2 years ago when we would travel up to 2 hours away to get a good breeze off the sea.

So day one was to be at Caher Conree - an ancient hill fort with sheer drops on three sides. To get to the ruins it was a 2 hour walk which looked lovely but I hadn’t brought any oxygen with me so that was out of the question. We settled for flying at roughly a midpoint up from sea level at about 900’ up and were planning to take a picture of Chris launching from the car (from the sun roof) but the flying was so good we never did get round to taking it . On the last trip I was blown away by some of the sites we travelled to but this was something else again, there was an unobstructed valley for about 3 miles out to the shoreline and this just funnelled all the available breeze straight onto the slope face. I had told Chris before I left home that he really wanted a nice big 4 metre sport model and so had packed a SPARE Alpina for him! He loved it as I knew he would in the 5 to 10 mph winds we had, the big wings loved it and huge stall turns (or are they hammerheads?) and massive loops were the order of the day.

We had also taken a Typhoon, Miraj and Volcano with us but no more as it was the first day on a newish slope with a light forecast. So after a nice leisurely 5 hours of flying we called it a day at about 7pm and made our way back to the house. As soon as we got back Lisa wanted to know what time we wanted to eat, followed straight away with another Guinness - or was it Budweiser this time - so many days so many cans! Dinner arrived and is quite possibly the only time I have asked for a steak to be medium\well and it was spot on. Whilst I’m writing this I’m trying to reconcile in my head which was the best - the day’s flying or the steak ? ...steak wins.

Day 2 arrives and we seem to have a pattern developing here. 9ish very "ish" for breakfast followed by 3 hours of chatting on RCMF, fettling planes and generally messing about , including Chris showing me how you can fly electric from his front lawn. This was technically correct but landings were a bit tricky over the fence/hedge and round the trees, but Chris confidently showed me the ropes with his much battered (now I know why) Stryker. The Stryker whizzed about much as you would expect any brushless wing to with some nice low quick passes thrown in.

Landing involved flying out over a field, coming in over the fence and dropping down onto the lawn - in theory! In practice this involved Chris power diving down from height over the field, inside the fence and then levelling off on the lawn (except) if you time it wrong and hit the upslope of the not yet full pond, you then get the perfect Harrier ski jump to vault your now very slow Stryker over the drive and into the flower beds - cue hilarity all round!

The forecast for day 2 was pretty much the same as day 1 maybe a little more breeze. By the time we were ready to get the car loaded the F3Fers had already pretty much cancelled over in Wales. So we were off to Caher Conree again but this time prepared for more wind. Chris’s pride and joy at the moment is a lovely Reichard 4mtr Fox which up to this point was unflown so that was first in the car followed by the Alpinas, my Sting, the Miraj, a Vector III, a Voltij, and my M60 and Reaper for good measure. Suffice to say the lift once again was awesome and it wasn’t too long before the Fox was out and assembled on the grass awaiting its maiden voyage.

And what a maiden it was, within the first minute the plane was looping and yes it was intentional and Chris had a smile like the Cheshire cat. I had previously shown him a video of a friend’s Fox doing inverted spins so naturally enough Chris threw his into one… I was amazed and almost horrified but of course it all went as planned and after about 15 minutes my heart rate was back to normal. This Fox is very good value for money as for less than £500 you get a 3.75mtr scale model with a glass fuz and foam cored balsa/glass wings all painted and covered which although in scalie terms is quite light actually carries a lot of momentum through manoeuvres so you have the best of both worlds.

Not to be out done I had secreted away my Wizard DSXtreme into the car and weighing a healthy 4.5kg on a span of just 2.5mtr it needs a bit of a blow to get going, it was nothing to Caher Conree in possibly 18-19mph at the very most it may not have floated out of my hands but certainly had no difficulty gaining height with a bit of thermal flap. Chris was charged with taking photos but with my crap memory forgetting to turn the shutter speed up from 1\120th and the speed of the Wiz most of the photos came out a bit blurred. The flying was great but after 10 minutes of trying to eat up the whole of the Irish airspace I decided that enough was enough and went to land , now 15mph mega lift is ok but 15mph headwind with a heavy model and no matter how much crow you’ve got its coming in quick! All ended well though.

At this point Chris was thinking of flying the Voltij and so it was all ready to go when an MPV pulled up by us and in best broad merkin a voice asked “you gonna fly that thang?” to which Chris replied in the affirmative. Well the whooping and the hollering was truly splendid as the VJ speared out and did 3 consecutive rolls followed by a big loop , hang on that loops going a long way back and where’s all the airspeed gone? Oh dear - VJ sort of half spins half flops into the ditch beside the road with no damage at all. Our colonial cousins at this point all look and as one all say “its all good” and dive back into their car to escape any potential further injury.

The day finished off with me flying the Reaper and the M60 full of lead backwards and forwards on what must be a 1 mile course – honestly, a mile! I’ve not flown the M60 anywhere else where I could leave it to just fly in a straight line for what seemed like 30 seconds or more without so much as a tickle on the sticks. And so ended day 2…

Fortunately for us and unfortunately for all the others back home day 3 was pretty much a repeat of day 1 with lots of sun and 5 to 10mph winds - such hardship! The local TV and radio was full of the Icelandic dust cloud story as this seemed to be centred over Ireland and was causing travel chaos, so we decided to take precautions just in case it developed any further and you can see that we survived perfectly well in the accompanying photos. Chris had thought of getting his NBC suit out from his National Service in South Africa but decided not to as the thought of poaching the crown jewels didn’t really appeal.

Day 4 was to be spectacular as the wind had moved round to a more north easterly flow from the previous days and Chris had a new slope to try which he had only previously looked at but not flown. Annascaul is higher up than Caher Conree and does involve some walking (about 70 metres) and is located on a peat bog. Can someone more able than me please explain how you can have a bog on the top of a 1500’ mountain and I do mean on the top! It’s the most weird sensation walking on 6 feet of water logged compost and at anytime be able sink a foot into it. As the forecast was for 5mph then we didn’t take much heavy weight tackle with us - what a mistake to make!

I can now see why Chris finds it a little more difficult to fly on my home inland slopes. On his slopes back on the stick means up and forward means down and that’s it - more akin to power flying. He had his Miraj doing proper Dakinesque 200’ compression loops for a good 4 or 5 minutes with no effort what so ever, again not to be outdone I had a go with the M60 fully loaded and could have carried on until the light went. In the end 4 days of solid flying had taken its toll and we were all flown out after 3 or 4 hours and retired back to a local hostelry for some liquid refreshments and some equally wonderful seafood.

What can I say about the ring of Kerry …..? You’ve got to “fly it before you die”
Fabulous place to go - great people and scenery to die for. Must go back before the end of summer.

Thanks Chris and Lisa


Thanks to Andy for the superb article, and to Andy and Chris for the pictures!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Sloperacer v Eyjafjallajokull

Yes, Sloperacer has been affected by the ruddy volcano! To all those waiting on Lift ticket to Norway and the RCRCM shipment coming, we apologise for keeping you waiting, but unfortunately there's not a lot we can do about it. At this point the lift tickets are now under way and the rcrcm Package is sitting in the Beijing hub (as it has been for a while now) waiting for flights into UK airspace to be cleared. We're hoping that the Southerly coming on later this week will result in our airspace getting cleared out somewhat and therefore our RCRCM shipment arriving. What I can promise you is that I will work my socks off to get through the models through the QC procedure as quickly as possible once it does arrive so that all those waiting on their models wait as little time as possible!

Thanks for bearing with us!


Monday, 19 April 2010

Lift Ticket to Norway...

It's on the way - yes it really really is! I remember watching the first Lift Ticket DVD I owned - it was everything I love about sloping distilled into a fantastic film with a brilliant laid back soundtrack. Watching the first one, it's very hard to imagine how a better one could be produced. But having seen the previews of Lift Ticket to Norway - everything seems stunning - the sound track, the locations - just everything!

I'm putting a note on here about it because the demand is massive for this, and we don't want to disappoint anyone. If you're considering purchasing one, please get in touch and let us know as soon as possible. Right now we are doing them for an introductory price of £23, rising to £25 at the end of May.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Extreme makes an impact in Devon.

One of the beauties of living on the coast in the sunshine is the sea breeze. Combined with some stunning cliffs means that on most warm days there’s the chance to fly. This weekend finally managed to combine Sloperacer’s southern wing, a Wizard F3F and those breezes.

After meeting up with Phil Taylor - keen to test out his new Extreme - a short walk got us to some stunning scenery and some cooling clean lift. I was off first and the Wiz didn’t let me down - you’re just always confident to have it banked over and pulling hard even in the lightest of air! Phil’s smile was obvious as he realised why there are so many Extremes flying in the UK - just damned good to fly!

The gods weren’t with us for long, as Phil managed to pick out the one rock on the landing zone and my transmitter developed a sticky elevator stick. But can’t grumble walking back to the cars in those conditions!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

A Day at the Races...

Although only half of Sloperacer’s 4 magic thumbs could make the first round of the SWSA Ken Phillips Trophy, Zim’s new arrangement with his Strega (I won’t hit you against a rock if you go fast) seems to be working. On a day that gave stunning winds and sunshine smack on the Wrecker, the field of just 16 pilots had plenty of time on the course.

With the Viking Race just a few weeks away the Dark Lord Dakin opened the comp with some smooth and fast Nordic turns putting in an excellent bench mark. Greg had missed Adam Richardson from his ritual curse and so he was able to win the first round with his Precious.

The VR team members of Greg, Martin, Joel and Simon led the way all day and showed the field exactly where the compression was all day to claim the top 4 places.

Unfortunately Zim’s agreement with his Strega just couldn’t stretch to flying THAT close to a huge lump of rock and so, despite beating his PB 3 times that magic sub 40 time didn’t come - missed by a tenth of a second! It was only that first round win that kept Adam ahead of Zim - a consistently good race from the Sloperacer Strega.

Special mention should be made of John Treble, despite breaking his Race M in the pre-comp sports fly he stayed all day as Buzzer supremo - you are excused the Dark Lord’s magic next time!

And as a final treat for us all, Greg flew his awesome Baudis Salto 4m carbon after the comp with a fantastic display of high energy aerobatics - lots in the slideshow...

Me - ahh the garden’s looking grand

1 Simon Thornton 9699.58
2 Joel West 9672.54
3 Martin Newnham 9017.76
4 Greg Dakin 8970.76
5 Adam Richardson 8929.32
6 Warrick Smith 8884.60
7 Andy Freeman 8844.62
8 Jonathan Sage 8751.59
9 Adrian Bedford 8727.88
10 Mark Passingham 8597.79

PS If you're interested in having a go at F3F, this is what the Ken Phillips Trophy is all about - it is a summer league meant to offer a lower pressure entry into the sport than the BMFA summer league, and anyone is welcome to come and have a go. Contact us through the site and we'll put you in touch with the right people if you'd like to get involved. Lots of help on hand during the day if it's your first time!

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Strega wins first UK competition!

The Strega took its first UK win today in the first round of the Summer Scottish League 2010. Congratulations to Ron Russell!

1st Ron Russell 8583.0 Strega
2nd Peter Gunning 8519.1 Cyril
3rd Dave Watson 8318.2 Vikos

And I've finally got around to downloading the video of Adam Richardson's 38.29 with the Strega at the Champion of Champions race a couple of weeks ago. Enjoy, and don't forget to click the full screen icon!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

DS in Derbyshire and Drinks in Devon

After nibbling on Easter Eggs and seeing the in-laws (I think its that way around) the slopes were calling for both Zim and myself to indulge ourselves. For Zim it’s got to be DSing Dynamics and Rushup Edge was chosen to take on Zim’s thumbs.

Tony Fu met up with Zim to add some contrast with his Vikos. The 3m mouldie was duly thrown around the back whist Zim finished off filling every cavity of his D40 with lead to bring the weight up to 28oz – now comes with a lead hazard warning! In the end it was Tony who attempted to break Rushup with a Ron Broughton foamie - the hill won but it was a close run thing - not sure if it was the model or Tony screaming the loudest.

After a couple of flights to blow out the DS cobwebs the D40 wound up to 134mph but Zim’s view was obscured by his missus’ thumb and he was recalled to base. This left Abbo and Adam in fast improving conditions without any sign of a responsible adult and after some 150mph aeros with their Opus and D80 respectively they settled down to enjoy some 200mph+ speed runs - Adam won the day with 232mph – a new PB! Adam also howled round with The Tank, a Mike Young designed foamie plank – a new airframe record at 191mph – that’s a 54” foamie! Just missing the UK foamie record of 200mph.

Of course Graham Bridge was there with his fantastically smooth DS style – if you want to learn how to carve the smoothest DS circuits imaginable, Graham’s the man you want on your shoulder whilst you’re trying. Also great to see Martin “Wudy” Woods making the trip down from Newcastle for his first DS excursion – turned some laps, and got it done! His lovely missus Nicola came too, bringing with her a delightful waft of perfume – an all too rare pleasure on the DS ridge!

Simon Cocker is not one to be out done around the backside, with his gorgeous Aermacchi using the energy available from DS to deliver some smooth flying. Give Simon a Predator and he’s adding rolls on the top turns at 100mph+. Congrats also to Will Deighton who upped his PB again to 169mph with his D80.

Down south Phil Taylor’s tour of the Devon hills saw both Phil and I screaming Wizards along a 25m sea cliff just 10 minutes from home (just 18 months I’ve missed that one!). The beautifully smooth coastal lift in the compression certainly showed up our poor turns and rewarded the good ones - even when you had to lean over the edge to see the turn point!

With a tight landing zone to ‘hit’ we had both chosen Wiz Compacts for the trip, each with very different set-ups but delivering equally big smiles. I failed in taking my camera so there are no of pics of the flying or the sight of Phil scrambling down the hill to retrieve his Sagitta (OK the inverted pass was my idea) - next time I promise!

Rounded off with a drink next to the beach at the bottom of the cliff and I think I’ve found the summer evening spot!

Here are Zim’s pics from his Rushup excursion – remember to click the full screen option!