Sunday, 30 July 2017

Catching Mr. Attfield

Hi All,
This morning Paul, Tony and I met at Itford Hill - the wind had changed overnight to W from SW, so we decided to move the venue from Mill Hill. Paul brought his lovely Merlow, Tony had his Wildthing and I brought my Mini Vector.
The weather was perfect - the air was clear and the wind was in the WSW
When we reached the flying point, Paul rigged his Merlow and started flying and I worked with Tony to set up his Wildthing with my spare Dx6 as the wireless buddy (like always), but changed the activation button to a switch so I didn't need to keep it pressed down the whole time - thanks to Tim for the advice - it's soooooo much easier - I also programmed 'master override' to make it easier to regain control if Tony had any problems. Tony then had some good practices at landing approaches.
Paul took over with the tuition while I rigged my Mini Vector and when it was ready, Paul stood by while I flew it.
My intention was to land it myself - up to now I've asked Paul or Ian to land it (only because I was worried about a repeat of the crash I had with my Mini Blade) - but I was so impressed with Will's landings last weekend, that I felt inspired to emulate his efforts. I wanted to catch myself up with Will's progress.
Guess what ? I made two perfect landings (with Paul's verbal instructions) and felt brilliant  afterwards.
Paul and I then took turns helping Tony on the buddy box until Tony decided to try to fly to Lewes !!
Inevitably the Wildthing didn't make it - and Tony went for a walk to rescue his model. After quite a long time I called him on my mobile to see if he was OK - he said he couldn't find it ! I then went to look and found it almost immediately, much closer to us than we had realised, so I called him again to let him know that he could come back.... I don't know how far Tony had walked - maybe to Lewes ???
Finally, Paul kindly helped Tony by giving him a demonstration of landing approaches and eventually landed almost within touching distance of us - unfortunately Paul did one of his best tricks to date and landed in a massive cow poo  -  !

Poor Tony - he put a brave face on it though !


Friday, 28 July 2017

My Graupner Weihe Rebuild Log

Hi All,
I have started to write a log of my rebuild of a 1960 s Graupner Weihe scale glider which I got from Paul and Tim. I've made good progress but it has taken a long time to get round to doing it. The log is down on the Right-hand side under 'Who's Building What'

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Upping the Ante...

It began on Thursday. A series of cheeky ‘shout outs’ intended to goad Paul and any others daft enough to bring along their mouldies to Newhaven cliffs today. No response. But the gauntlet had been laid down. I realised that I had to put my money where my mouth was or risk Paul’s comical chicken impression (again).
Slopehunter warns that “the worst aspect of these cliffs is the lack of large landing areas. It’s all a bit narrow and backed by brambles. It isn’t terrible, but it would be a challenge to land a 4-metre scale glider here.” OK, so the Ascot is a 3 not a 4 meter ship, but the words ran round my head on repeat as I loaded it into the boot of Paul’s car.
Never one to heed warnings, I passed up my last chance to chicken-out and slung the Ascot in its carry case over my shoulder and plodded up the steep road from the lower carpark to the NCI lookout – a weather-beaten structure that sits 175 feet above the sea, scanning “in excess of 400 square miles on a clear day”.

Paul and I met Rob, who was flying his trusty Ninja, and Ian, who was belting around with his M60 “hooligan machine”, with his orange Starjet waiting closely in the wings. Paul brought along his now fully-ballasted Gulp 60” racer “bling machine” and I tested the air with my increasingly battered Wildthing.    
After a short flight with the SAS wing, I rigged the Ascot – still secretly hoping someone would talk me out of it. Ian and Paul were strategizing landing options, which included identifying areas of long undergrowth that could be used to “ditch it”, worst case, if I failed to slow it up enough on the short approach.
Figuring that I’d worry about “the details” at the other end of the flight, I checked all the control surfaces were functioning correctly and Ian hurled it over the edge of the cliff.

The lift was mind-blowing and incredibly smooth – the type of lift that you only really experience during cliff flying.
With the prospect of this being both my first and last flight, I threw caution to the wind and tried my first loops and rolls with the Ascot – after all, if the landing was to prove fatal, I didn’t want to have squandered the opportunity to really enjoy the fantastic conditions and experience a bit more of what the Ascot’s capable of.
Eventually it was time to face the inevitable – the batteries in the TX and RX weren’t going to last for ever and this thing wasn’t going to land itself! A few circuits to test the air behind the slope and suddenly I’m on my final approach.
The Ascot was extremely stable and, with full flaps deployed, it slowed up to a complete standstill and almost floated down. The most turbulent air seemed to be just a few feet above the ground, which certainly kept it interesting but was nothing like the fierce rotor-effect that I’d been sweating about.
Worried that the first landing may have been a fluke, I thought I’d really better try another! So lobbing it off from a second time – this time both Paul and Ian having a go on the sticks – we put the Ascot through its paces once more. After another epically fun flight, I brought it back round for a second event-free landing.
Probably one of the most thrilling and rewarding days flying since I first got into the hobby. But guys seriously, next time I propose something crazy on the blog, just talk me out of it!!
Message from Paul : Just to say from an old fart's point of view - Will, you must have trouble walking with those big steel balls of yours. You definitely have upped the ante and encouraged us to fly our big mouldy's up on the cliffs at Newhaven. Well done you!!

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Saturday looks good for the cliffs!

Hello all
I know a lot of us have been away or busy over the last few weeks but this weekend offers us all a chance to go and enjoy the smooth lift found over the cliffs at Newhaven.
The wind is forecast to be 14 - 23mph SSW - S which should be perfect for the cliffs.
I know a lot of you don't feel confident with the idea of flying on the cliffs but if you don't try you will never know what's it like. There are plenty of us who can land models for you or even the idea of flying the cliffs scares you just come along and watch. It's really all in the mind.
At least for me if it all goes wrong (again) I shouldn't need a cherry picker to collect my model.
Let me know if you can make it to the cliffs at Newhaven on Saturday morning?
I will confirms timings tomorrow.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

A jolly good reason to move to Dorset?

On our last family holiday to Dorset I spotted an excellent slope near where we were staying, so this year I fitted a roof box and took a bundle of models, the luggage went inside and the family came in grandma's car. The roof box is about 50 inches long, so that limited my selection to small and split-wing gliders - still, I found six models that fitted the box.
First we looked at the west-facing Portland cliffs accessible from Grangecroft car park. They looked promising with a good landing area north of the car park:

I hadn't flown from cliffs before and as there was nothing else in the air except birds I decided to let discretion be the better part of valour and leave this spot for a future excursion.
Maiden Castle hill near Dorchester appealed as a good all-rounder, i.e. it should suite all wind directions. When I arrived there was a brisk south-westerly blowing and I positioned myself accordingly.  The problem is the ramparts - as I threw the model it passed over a very deep ditch before the first rampart, I guess the wind formed a powerful vortex because the model sank straight down into the ditch. So I scrambled down and up to the first rampart and tried again with much better results. I achieved a few short flights but the retrievals always involved more scrambling which was tiresome and risky.
A few days later the wind swung round to the south, the sun shone once more and I was given leave to try another slope. Ringstead Ridge this time which overlooks the bay where we stayed. I was very impressed; this National Trust hilltop has a long free-parking area to the left of the track, while on the right side of the track is the launch site! The wind was reported as 8-9mph southerly, which was fine for this SSW facing slope. Fortunately this was Thursday, at the weekends there is a lot of hang/paragliding activity, but on this afternoon there was just me and this guy with an R/C foamy chuck-glider conversion from Lidl. A very satisfying three hours ensued. It's a near perfect spot, the only thing to worry about (according to my companion) is the prevalence of ticks in the long grass, so sturdy boots and trousers are recommended to avoid the risk of Lyme disease.

 That's the Isle of Portland on the horizon. As Slopehunter suggests the lift is smooth as it blows up off the sea...
Happy landings
Russell H

Variable Itford

Mark and I met up at the top of Itford hill.  I arrived on the hill around 10.15 and there was already another flier there. He was lying on the grass and occasionally checking the wind speed with his anemometer.  The wind was only around 8 mph and veering between SSW and SW, not the ideal conditions for his overweight glider which only saw a couple short flights. 

Mark arrived with his glider (sorry I cannot remember the model) after walking the same “hard man” route as me up the side of the hill.  Unfortunately or fortunately depending how you view it, Mark was just about to launch his model and one of the servos decided that wasn’t going to take instructions from the receiver and did its own thing instead so Mark was unable to fly it!

Another flier arrived with a 2 mtr moldie and after some surveying of the wind conditions launched his model.  At this time the wind was a little stronger but as it had moved more SW the lift was not great.  The model flew a few times and made it back down safely but with some very shaky moments when the wind dropped.

Not wanting to be caught out I tried to take as many models as I could carry which included the Weasel, Vagabond and e-hawk.  I also took my Mamba but left it in the car as I could not carry it!  The Weasel was in its element in the not ideal conditions and probably saw the most flying.  The wind was a little light for the Vagabond and it had a few flights but nothing spectacular.  I was hesitant to fly the e-hawk as I had never flown it before and after the others had left I decided to give it a go, not wanting to take it home unflown!  It flew very well a but it is quite light and by this time the wind had picked up a bit.  As I had been on the hill for 3 hours I decided it was time to land the e-hawk.  It seemed to fly so well that it did not want to land and on my final attempt it got lower to the ground and a gust of wind caught it and it went out of sight down the hill.  I picked up all of my gear and went to find the errant model expecting to find a heap of scrap balsa wood.  As I got closer I could see that the tail was intact and then the wings came into view and they looked ok.  To my surprise it had nosed into the long grass which had saved it.  It wasn’t the cost that would have bothered me as it only cost £30 but would have been a shame to have had only one flight with it!


Thursday, 13 July 2017

Catching Up!

Hello guys.

This weekend I'm going away for a few days up to Stratford Upon Avon. Unfortunately for me there are not many slopes there so I will have to miss flying for a week.
There are some guys going flying tomorrow as it looks like the Dyke should be working. Maybe if you want to go flying at the weekend you could put a shout out and see what others are doing?

On another note, You hopefully have either seen the email Rob has sent out about the EGM or seen the posts up on here. Could you please reply to Rob's email and let us know if you intend to come along to the meeting or not. This gives us an idea on how many people could be coming and then we can let the pub know roughly how many are staying for food. You don't need to stay for food but it gives us the opportunity to have a bit of a social while we are all together.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Who's a lucky boy then?

Myself, Rob & Ian started flying to the West of Ditchling Beacon Car park. All was well and the lift was soft but with good thermals pulling through. A few hors passed and Rob went off home and myself and Ian were enjoying the challenging conditions with a light a variable wind with broken thermals. Ian was flying his Shadow and I was flying my Maxa 4 with its new F3J thermal fuselage.
The Maxa had been performing really well and climbed away a few times from below the hilltop height. This time I was a way out from the hill and coming back low. I made sure I kept the speed on but I was losing the model from view as the hill dropped away sharply below my feet and then there is a flat section where the roman road is then the next steep bowl. I moved forward hoping to get a better view but the steep hill and road where getting in the way as the model was well down the slope at this stage. I started to walk down the slope but began to pick up speed and ended up face first in stinging nettles and my face hitting the upward slope hard. It could have only been about 15 - 20 seconds but the Maxa had vanished. Ian landed his shadow and I slid down the steep bowl on my bum and then across to where I could see the model in a tree.
I scrambled back to the top of the hill while having an asthma attack and having burning / stinging to my arms, tummy and face from the stinging nettles.
Ian said take a rest and don't die on the hill side. We wandered back to the cars when I then realised I had lost my very expensive vary-focal glasses. Off we plod to the human crash site partly down the slope where Ian luckily found my misshapen glasses. (Lucky point No 1).
We then made our way down to the main Ditchling Beacon road (about a 3rd of the way down) and siting in the top of a massive tree was a very in tact Maxa 4 (Lucky No,2).
What to do?
I know lets try and find a tree surgeon with a man up lifter. After a few phone calls we found a guy (Allan) with a 20 metre cherry picker. 'Be with you in half an hour mate' (Lucky No.3).
He turns up with a huge wagon with a cherry picker on the back. Me and Ian have to do a bit of traffic management until Allan decides the safest option is to stop all the traffic. 'You jump in the cage'. That's me ...... A big gulp and up I went. Don't look down fool.
I grabbed the model and was soon back on the ground but with massive queues of traffic in both directions. (Lucky No,4)
Allan and Ian were complete hero's and I wouldn't have been to deal with it all without Ian's help and calm control.
It cost me £100 but the model was virtually undamaged and my glasses where a bit bent but Ian had found them.
All in all I was just very lucky bloke other than the cuts, bruises and a top half full of stings from the nettles.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Club Extraordinary General Meeting

Hi All,
Following the loss of our club field and the overwhelming 'YES' result of the opinion poll to keep the club running, the committee promised to hold an EGM to discuss with the members how to take the club forward in terms of looking for a field (or not), club fees, etc......
I have sent each member an email with the details of the EGM, which will be as follows -

Saturday 5th August at Ardingly Inn at 18:00 .

We intend to have a one hour meeting and then have a club social evening with a meal (as at previous meetings).

A map for Ardingly Inn is here,-0.0808942,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x4875f48f4aa45b89:0x959313361c0c5964!8m2!3d51.0485266!4d-0.0787055

Hopefully we will see all of you there to express your opinions and give us help to move forward........

Rob Stanley
Hon. Sec.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Getting the Needle......

This one is for Will & Ian......

Is it worth the money?

How low can you go?

After last weeks great turnout it was back to the same old three, me, Ian and Will together with a few from Mill Hill who were flying up at Devils Dyke yesterday (Saturday).
There were hundreds (well 30+) of paragliders and hangliders floating about over the Dyke. The wind was sort of on the slope but there seemed to be a shortage of hill lift but plenty of thermals first thing. I got to fly my Merlow and my M60. Will was flying his Ascott around very well, that was until the lift died suddenly and before we new it he was way down below the hill top. Ian grabbed the sticks as we all ran to the edge of the slope and watched the master climb back up from about 100ft below the top. It took some effort  but Ian got it back and handed it back to Will.
The wind continued to swing from what was a NW round to virtually a W wind. The wind was coming around from the direction of Truly Hill. Will continued to stay up in the thermals with his mouldy. Ian luckily had brought along his Shadow. which proved to be the machine for the conditions. The cloud filled in and over developed and the paragliders seemed to be filling up the fields below the Dyke.
Here are a few video's of Ian flying his Shadow.
It has to be said that some of the flying undertaken by the Paragliders and the Hanglider boys was just dam right dangerous. I saw a Hanglider doing a beet up low over the car park and everyone standing watching. Pity I didn't manage to film it. That's the problem up there. No control over who flies what, where and when. Nobody to give out a bollocking when people don't fly sensibly or to the rules. Not my favourite flying site but in that wind direction we don't have a massive choice.
No respect from the other users on the hill with Paragliders flying into our piece of sky and right in front of us flying our models. You could imagine the up roar if we were to fly over into the bowl and share their airspace so why do they think its acceptable to fly into our airspace. So much for the gentleman's agreement of you stay on your very small bit of the hill (the rc glider pilots) and they (the paragliders etc) can have the rest of Sussex. End of rant !!!