Friday, 9 September 2011

"Bye Bye Zim!"

Hello all - it's Tony Fu here - you may have heard that I'm now involved in SlopeRacer, so here's the how and why!

It’s with regret that the three - SlopeRacer, Zim and his new day job in the city could not continue. It cannot be denied that Zim has moved the business forward, bringing in more moulded gliders through a greater number of manufacturers, giving us more access to our beloved mouldies than ever before.

Distributing moulded gliders properly requires serious investment, buying in quantity and having the planes first before asking customers for money. Ordering 50-100 mouldies at a time takes a leap of faith but it’s proving to be the right way. Sending out a mouldie the next day to a customer is now common place for us. Not surprisingly you buy more when we have them in stock!

Zim has left a healthy growing business but he didn’t want Sloperacer to go to just anybody. He wanted someone that understood the culture of SlopeRacer and would carry on the good work but as a FULL time business, but most importantly he wanted it to go to someone who would invest substantially in stock, as waiting for a mouldie is NOT the way it has to be! With me being able to commit to this as a full time business, it's possible for me to reach a consistent level of service that was impossible for Zim no matter how late into the evenings he was prepared to be packing and prepping models! After much discussion, we figured out a way to make it happen, and here I am.

So there we have it, I’ll buy in more and more tempting shiny, new plastic that you can either browse on the website, or come down to my new showroom in Leeds and browse in person - I’m still running an installation business for these superb machines and will continue to try to make them readily available to more flyers and especially those that are just interested in flying and not necessarily building! Mouldies are no longer just for the dedicated few.

‘Zimbo’ is not going away though. He’s going to be ‘assisting’ in all the interesting stuff that Sloperacer is planning for the future. These are our projects and will take Sloperacer through the next phase of growth - yep, I’ll be getting him to build me some new shelves because we’re fast running out! And, oh yes, I think we all liked reading his blogspot and his muses from slope flying and that will continue. 

So thank you and good luck, Zim! And to close this entry, a quick note from Zim himself…

“Just very briefly, to all those who have bought models from me in the last couple of years, thanks ever so much for your support – I hope that they continue to put a smile on your faces every time you fly them. As for those of you who probably had some hassle getting hold of me in the last couple of months – please accept my MOST sincere apologies – things did get rather overly busy with other commitments, hence the reason for starting to talk to Tony about moving the business forward. I really and truly believe that Tony is the best thing that can happen to SlopeRacer to take it to the next level – with his freely given technical expertise and absolutely infectious enthusiasm I’m convinced that you will all really enjoy dealing with him in the future. I’ve worked with him now for quite a while, and recommend him to you MOST highly!

All the best, Tony, and thanks again to all SlopeRacer’s customers, past and present. See you on the slopes!


Monday, 28 March 2011

Champion of Champions 2011 - Take 1...

With a high pressure bubble sitting over Wales all weekend, we didn't really have a chance in getting a comp in, despite mildly encouraging forecasts. Still, despite the lack of racing conditions, it was great to catch up with all the chaps from the racing community once again, and take a few pictures. Most of them are just blokes in orange bibs I'm afraid! 

Notable captures are Richard Bago with his specially commissioned hat, John Phillip's custom felt tip schemed Wizard - carbon dating required on this one and Scott Ravenscroft undergoing a rather stressful flight with his Vampire into almost zero lift on the Back of Wrecker... Oh and great to see Abbo and the Extreme F3F re-united!

See you all again for take two - fingers crossed for some wind!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Another happy Strega owner...

Dan Montuschi successfully maidened his glass Strega F3F today in light conditions - congratulations Dan, and thanks for sending in the picture! Now, let's hope for some stronger conditions next time out so that you can test that new construction that I've been raving about!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

My childhood dream glider - FINALLY!!!

When I was growing up in Zimbabwe, there was an RC gliding club across the road from my house. RC was super-expensive back then, and especially so in Zimbabwe, and my family couldn't afford the luxury. So I just used to ride over there every Sunday on my Raleigh Chopper :) and watch the guys fly every weekend.

The model that I dreamed of owning was the Airtonics Aquila. I've been really keen to find an original Airtronics kit untouched with the Duralene fuselage, so that I can build one myself, but one has to be realistic, as firstly they are almost impossible to find, and secondly, I'm pretty short on building time for myself!

So when I found out that the very excellent Peter Beadle had one in his hangar ready to go, I virtually begged him to sell it to me! And gent that he is, he agreed to sell it to me, and she now awaits me picking her up.

Gentle hi-start, and then floating about in the summer with that lovely all flying rudder - aaaaaah - can you taste the nostalgia?! I can't wait! And Pete - thank you so very much mate!


Sunday, 20 February 2011

Close-up: The Predator II... and a great SlopeRacer deal as well!

Designed by Gudmund Malones of Norway, the Predator 1 was an attempt to create a model which gave top shelf F3B and F3F performance at a reasonable cost. Nearly two years on, with the feedback of many top level pilots from all over the world, including the UK's John Phillips, and we now have the Predator II.

A Proven Race Winner

The Predator 1 was always a  model to be reckoned with. Its out and out speed was proven in no uncertain terms in the UK in 2010 with John Phillips taking victory in both the BMFA F3F Summer League as well as the fastest international F3F race in the world, the Welsh Open, with his red Pred.

The speed and efficiency of the Predator 1 wing was never in any doubt, so it was left well alone for v2! But it was felt that a little more stability in slow circling flight and in high speed flight in turbulent conditions would make a great model even better. So the centre dihedral was increased by 0.5〫and the V tail angle was steepened. An all new tail was designed with new sections to give the Predator II more authority in yaw and pitch.

And of course the final touch was to create an up to the minute slender F3x fuselage design to minimise drag, and redesign the V tail linkages to a "pull for up" system. The Predator was always intended to be as much for the winch as for the slope, and the entire wing construction was revised to ensure that the model has what it takes to soak up a decent winch launch as well as the biggest conditions the slope can throw at it!

Seems like the construction revisions worked - at an event shortly after the Predator II's launch, a competitor in Norway took out a ski pole being used as a sighting post during an F3B speed run - the Predator suffered some slight paint damage to the leading edge, whilst the ski pole was snapped into three pieces! Check out Jo Grini's on-board winch video below... You can see that all the characteristics that make a great racing model also translate to make a great sports model - easy handling, speed and great aerobatic agility...

predator v2 winch onboard from Jo Grini on Vimeo.

I'm convinced enough by the revisions to this model that I'm using one myself this season alongside my new Strega. Aside from the one that I've snaffled from stock, we have both glass and carbon lay-ups now in stock in the colours shown in the slide show below, and there's a special SlopeRacer deal going - you get a free wiring loom worth £25.00 and SlopeRacer designed radio tray worth £10.00 with the model - the tray makes the fuse install a snap - they are laser cut and are detailed even down to the pilot holes for the servo screws so all the guesswork is taken out of the fuse install for you! Also great news is that the Hyperion DS13TMB will fit at all stations in the wing, bringing the cost of a full Hyperion digital install (including the 2 x DS11AMB in the fuse) to just £164.

NOW, how about this for an awesome SlopeRacer deal!

We're doing what is possibly the best ever deal that we've ever done on a 3m model. If you buy a Predator II from this batch, either in carbon or glass, then you get a FULL Hyperion digital radio pack as above INCLUDING a high quality Intellect 2/3A 1600mah battery for just £150.00. The full retail on this package (based on regular non-SlopeRacer prices) is £179.65 - so that's a saving of £29.65 on a great radio pack for this model, plus the free loom and radio tray!

That's a Predator II complete with wiring loom, custom SlopeRacer radio tray, and ALL THE RADIO GEAR for just £800 for the glass, and £900 for the carbon. You'll just need to build it and drop in your rx and you're ready to go. When this batch is gone, though, the deal's over, so get in touch quickly if you fancy it...

Prices for the model on it's own incl free loom and tray are £650 for the glass and £750 for the carbon.

Have a look at the finish on that wing in the slide show. Treat yourself to a fantastic evolution of a proven winner. Whether you want to win races, or spend days lazily chasing thermals, or just hoon around like your pants are on fire, the Predator II won't disappoint!


Monday, 14 February 2011

Crossfire-2 F3F & F3B delivery imminent! update - now arrived!

Good news today! The first part of our order for these stunning models is just about ready to ship. From what I've heard from a couple of friends of SlopeRacer who are flying these aircraft, they have something very special, in both handling and just out and out speed. Personally I can't wait to unpack this shipment as Aer-O-Tec's extraordinary reputation for jewel-like quality is second to none. Here are the schemes coming our way - get in touch at for more information and pricing.

UPDATE: now unpacked... Firstly these are the latest spec with the full 1.6kg ballast load centred on the CG. F3B wings come in at around 600g each and are seriously stiff. The fuselages are superlight and mega-stiff with Aer-O-Tec's new fuse construction technique.

The F3F wings, however, are outrageous! They come in a little heavier at around 660g but with that double carbon C160 construction they are absolutely rock solid. Coupled with carbon Disser tail construction and you have a beautifully specified model. As with Crossfires past, I fancy this one wouldn't be troubled by a little DS action! And it's all on show with the entire underside of these models as well as the topside lettering in naked carbon. An absolutely stellar effort from Stefan Eder at Aer-O-Tec.

Click on the small pictures for a full size... No 67 now sold.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Another misty day up Pen-Y-Fan

This is one grumpy mountain! But I think that it will become one of the key DS sites to going really fast in the UK. Really high up, so any wind speed turns into something pretty powerful up there, and there are multiple potential DS sites along the top, almost all of which are bowls. This should mean that we get superclean air on the back.

Despite climbing it last week with a few chaps and being foiled by the rain (again!), I've still not yet flown it, but I've heard good things about it from flying buddies who have, so yesterday I decided to try to get up there and give it a go. Conditions looked good - sunny and with around 30mph over the top. However, I got delayed by a jam on the M42 for an hour and a half, and eventually got up to the top of Pen-Y-Fan just in time for the ridge to get cloaked in cloud which meant no flying. So instead I just scouted about to try to understand where to land and all that for the next visit, and then spent ages trying to remember how to work the self timer function on my camera! Finally figured it out, and managed to get a shot of the D80 and the Womble hat.

Hopefully sun and 40mph straight in next time!


Monday, 24 January 2011

The Sacrifices that have to be made

  Picture the scene, you’ve been told of a great new flying site just 5 miles from this week’s rugby fixture and the forecast was wind dead on the slope. Surely an opportunity to extend my Lift Ticket to Devon should not be missed- The suggestion of the missus visiting her parents whilst I had a boys day seemed very sensible to me!

Working on the principal of say it fast and then run I was in the car and away by 8:00am with dog, gliders and boots all packed. Although I’d left a cooked breakfast on the table, best turn the phone to silent ‘till she calms down! Arriving at the almost deserted car park, the view was stunning and conditions about perfect (plus or minus 20 degrees). A brief stroll along the peninsula’s track to find a landing spot and the Air One was soon away. Tracking straight with the light but reliable sea lift giving more than enough to play with the set up and Air One's excellent energy retention- just how high the half pipes could be pulled. I’m really starting to like this model!

Laziness kept me quite close to the car park for the first few flights but after a quick brew and swapping for the Compact it was easy to take a stroll down the track (main road in Devon) for what must have been the easiest cross country ever. To those walkers who didn’t spot the Compact I was a strangely slow walker who just wouldn’t look at them as we spoke My walk revealed some excellent possible Ds spots along the peninsula’s spine but my head was in too calm a place for DS.

Rugby and beer later it was time to turn the phone on and return home- she’ll be talking again in a few days (win win really) and a flying spot to return to when the lovely 3m Air Ones arrive or Ds mates come a visiting.


Sunday, 16 January 2011

Do you mind going flying for a couple of hours whilst I bake you a cake?

Yep I wasn’t dreaming but I wasn’t going to hang around long to check, now all I needed was a 30mph south westerly and enough charge left in the Air One and cross tail Compact I tested last week in Wales.

The Compact was in need of testing as I’ve replaced the rudder with a fixed fin, remarkably this has saved over 150grams. Back to the flying and as I drove along the Exmouth prom dodging the kite surfer’s being dragged up the beach it was clear my weight saving wasn’t needed. Yep 35mph wind and it was time to make sure the Air one’s new fus mounted ballast had done it’s job and made it heavier (by around 1kg).

A 2 handed launch tested the Air One’s stability as well not going backwards in a gale. ‘Corse she passed! and a few flights later the Air One had ripped up the cliff edge and generated a huge smile on my face- Can I claim any credit for the Air One?- Probably not. I hadn’t long started flying the Compact and Phil Taylor arrived with the aim of beating the assembly time on his Fletcher. Although Phil’s clearly spent most of the excess time on his hands with solar trim, he did manage to reduce his Fletcher assembly time to under 87 minutes!

My time Watching the Fletcher was cut short as I had a lunch time Curry and Beer to be bought for me- Sorry- some days you’re just spoilt.


Monday, 10 January 2011

SlopeRacer goes racing

More pictures

After what feels like months of snow, rain, fog and family putting pay to both flying and racing, the prospect of sunshine, wind and a race on Mickies was too good a prospect to miss. So after days of supporting the missus’s self proclaimed allergy to Pledge and trips the in-laws it was 5:30am and I was heading off.

As always, the Wizard Compact was in the car with me but alone this time, as my favourite model ever it was the perfect choice to get the most fun out of a day’s racing. Arriving at Mickies to find the gate open- It must be my day! My enthusiasm was only slowed when I opened the car door and felt the icey Westerly- perhaps time for a drink and let give the sun time to get on the slope before venturing out.

By the time the other 14 pilots arrived and Knewt had but long trousers on, it wasn’t much warmer but definitely time to head over for a test flight (no practising on course). Test over and thumbs warming as I returned with my camera I realised just how cold it was as I scraped the ice from my wings.

6 hours and 9 rounds of the kind of excellent racing and fun atmosphere that the winter leagues are renown, saw the like of Martin Newnhan, Golden Balls and Knewt slug it out at the top of the field with Extremes/Freestylers and Cere’s (Ceri?) showing there’s not a fag paper between them. I had a blast carving the Compact around the sky to record a number of low 40s times with my only my thumbs keeping her above the magical 40!

All but 1 round was won with a sub 40, including Scott Edwards’ new sub 40 PB to join the 5 other round winners his day was made! Martin was the clear winner at the end of the day after performing consistently all day.

1 weekend and a completed round at each of the leagues- a fantastic start to 2011 and the run to the Champions of Champions race. I’ll be posting the unofficial scores and league positions very soon, with your assumed leagues. Please remember to let me know if you would like to change.

The prospect of my family growing very shortly after the Champions race means you’ll be in the hands of Zim this year on finals day- be Gentle with him!