It’s funny how perceptions change. Prior to this year, it might have been “too windy” to fly. It really wasn’t, but we get spoiled. Now, since many of us are self-isolating and most forms of entertainment are no longer available, we appreciate getting outside and doing what we love – flying model airplanes.
I was pretty tired Sunday morning, due to multiple sleep interruptions over the last week, but I made that long drive (2 hours) up to the Cloudbuster’s flying field for our monthly contest. These are low health risk events as there are only a few of us (eight, yesterday) and it is outdoors. We are cautious: no more hand shakes and we stay apart from each other, even when chatting.
I already posted the contest results on the Cloudbusters Facebook page, so I won’t go over that here, but will focus on some of my personal adventures here.
The first thing I did when I got parked and unpacked at around 8:30 was to get out my new Square Eagle P-30. If you remember, I was only able to put in 100 hand-winds at home for a 10-second jaunt around the back yard. I wanted to “air it out” so I was hoping to get in some test flight before the wind started to pick up (it was already pretty breezy and that probably didn’t change much throughout the day). I used a short DT every flight. On the first, a medium-powered flight (maybe 1000 turns?), I took it upwind and let it go. Even at medium power, it was up and climbing – maybe the turn was a little wide, but it did get up. The DT kicked before the power ran out, so we couldn’t check the glide.
The next two flights were full power – about 1600 turns or so with a 90-sec estimated fuse burn. The climb-out was good and I got a 1:57 with the DT kicking later than expected. I tweaked in a little more right turn in the Gizmo Geezer prop assembly and shortened the fuse a little more. Wow, it likes to fly, climbing right out (and this is on 2-loops of 1/8″, not 3), much better with the right turn. It was plenty high when the DT kicked this time and it came down slowly. As Winn suggested, it took 20 or 30 seconds to come down after the DT. My thoughts were – I will be losing this in a strong thermal some day. And this is with the tail kicked per the design. Success! In two weeks, we have our Oldenkamp Cup event – I’ll get to try to wrestle the cup from Winn’s firm grip (he has won it most of the past several years).
The next bit of fun was with my Victory Models. I decided to bring my old Victory Stick and my newer Shaft to participate in our Combined Old Timer event. The event is really 2-Bit, but if people want to fly the bigger Old Timers, we let them. In this case, I chose to fly SMALLER Old Timers as both are sub-14″ span OT Sticks (as Sticks, they are not eligible for 2-Bit – no landing gear).
The Victory Stick needs more work as the wings have been broken off the wire supports so many times, who knows if the incidence is anywhere close to correct. I really need to build another (fuselage tube is already completed!) But the Shaft flies well – it’s about a 45-second ship. Here’s a video from fall of 2016 when I built this second one.
So I wound up the the little Shaft and took it upwind and let it go. Man, it climbs. With the help of the wind, it went quite aways downwind – almost across the road. But a tree grabbed it right out of the air. It was pretty high up, so I just went back and thought “the wind will blow it out”.
I would check on it as the day went on, but it wasn’t budging. So much for participating in Combined Old Timer (note – I “could” fly either the Victory Stick or the Flying Aces Sportster, but I “wanted” to fly the Shaft).
Later on, a few of us had gathered to fly JetCat. We often fly at the same time so we can record/fly/record/fly – and get it all out of the way. One of our new flyers, Ken McGuire, was flying a 2-Bit, trying to get it trimmed. We gave his some advice – maybe too much – and his little plane got caught in a tree near where my plane was. I told Winn “we’ve gotta go on a retrieval trip after this (JetCat) because Ken just put his plane in a tree”. So we went over there with my long pole (a Jackite 31″ Orange Kite Pole – get them through EasyBuilt or Jackite – but they’re $80 before shipping!)
(Note – in my opinion, an important part of having a club and attracting new members is helping them get their planes to fly. Most of the time, that is just a piece of trimming advice here or there – you don’t need to dedicate the afternoon to their planes. But, again in my opinion, possibly an even more important part is finding their lost planes. Losing a plane can be disappointing or even heart-breaking and maybe they will quit after that. So go find that plane and keep them flying!)
We got back to the cars and Chris Boehm said they needed a third for Combined Old Timer – he and Chuck Hickson had been flying that while we were jetting. That was more incentive to get my little plane back.
I spotted Ken’s model deep in a tree and way up. With the pole fully extended, I was able to get it out of the tree. Then we went to the next tree and did the same for mine. I thought it was too high, but that pole is long (and, apparently, my how-high-up internal estimator needs calibration).
What followed was some really good flights on this little ship. Here is a chart I made of the general start locations and landing spots of my four flights on the Shaft. The red line is the first test flight that landed in the tree.
Keep in mind that I use a scooter for chasing. Our pit area was just to the left of the white hangar at the end of Line 3. We ride on the edges of the runways – the runways are smooth; the other areas are very rough, usually with tall grass, and some areas have ditches crossing them. So, really, you have to stay on the runways to chase (that makes following on windy days difficult as you are sometimes traveling in the opposite direction of your model!)
I don’t know how long, in time, the test flight was, but the official flights were: 1) 52 seconds, 2) 102 seconds, and 3) 69 seconds. These were really good flights for the Shaft. Torqued up and trimmed, it would go nearly straight up with a slight left component. Flight 2 was nerve-wracking as it actually went NNE toward the tree line and then headed east. We’ve lost several models in that tree-filled area and I was afraid that one was a goner. Those were long flights for the little plane and it ended up beating the Chris’s Flying Aces Moth (second place) by over 40 total seconds. More Success!
Oh, and I beat Winn in JetCat for the third straight month!
The trip back home was long and difficult, but I made it and spent the night relaxing and recuperating (and napping) in front of the tv, often recounting the day in my mind. It was a good day.
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