How to rescue a glider from a “not very high” tree

Last meeting at the field saw Campervan Dave arrive with a brand new model, a E-Flight Radian XL no less, and very nice it looked too, well for a short time anyway.

After some stalling by Dave as he spent some time messing with his transmitter, off he set along with Adrian to commence the maiden flight, which went quite well and was uneventful.

It wasn`t until the third flight of this wonderous model, that disaster stuck, the result ending with the plane parked quite nicely in a tree.

The rescue mission was led by Barry and Dave, they crossed fast flowing streams, barbed wire fences and knee high nettles before they reached the site of the incident, our correspondent managed to capture the final few minutes of the rescue on video.

Nice work chaps.

Here is a second short video of the perilous crossing of the barbed fence, watch your wedding tackle gentlemen.

I am happy to report that all ended well, apart from a little embarrassment which was suffered by Dave.

Return of another Pheonix

Many of you will know that Mick’s Phoenix has been occupying a lofty position at the top of a tree for about a month. Determined efforts to retrieve it, including one involving the near destruction of Chris’s drone, have been made, but to no avail. It stubbornly stayed at the top of the tree.

However, storm Doris has been through the area, and despite the damage it created in some places, in others there were some benefits!

Wednesday 1st March was a rather dull day, but it was lit up by the discovery that Mick’s Pheonix had returned to earth!

There was some damage to the wings, but the fuselage seemed unscathed. Mick is threatening to build some new wings! Perhaps more on that later!


















Pheonix descends to the Ashes (Or were they willows?)

‘A’ Dave had been flying his Pheonix 2000 in his usual competent manner for some time on a dark, windy Autumn day. (Sunday 23rd October 2016 to be precise)  He decided it was time for a landing. The wind was from the hedge side of the field (the east!) and so Dave decided to bring the Pheonix in over the river end – you know – where those tall ash trees are! (or are they elm?)  Later in the day Dave was heard to say that if only he had flown a bit higher he would have missed the trees!  (This is clearly in the same league as football pundits who say ‘If only the ball had gone in to the net it would have been a goal!)

20161023_135959-600x1067Careful observation and good eyesight were required to see the Phoenix, but there was no doubt that it was stuck high up in the trees. After an hour or so of waiting for the wind to blow the Pheonix down, a decision was made to take action! A search party, Dave, Mel and Chris, hiked in to a field on the far side of the river 20161023_140120-1067x600Alne in order to get closer to the Phoenix.

This attracted the attention of Farmer David and his assistant who turned up with a large tractor!

‘A’ Dave had brought the club poles with him, but it was pretty clear that they wouldn’t get anywhere near the Pheonix.

Ideas were running a bit thin, when Farmer Dave asked if it would help if he cut the tree down! Everyone agreed that this was a good idea, so off he went to get a chain saw. On his return his assistant started cutting with ‘A’ Dave closely watching the proceedings!20161023_140754-1067x600



A couple of minutes later the tree came crashing to the ground and all eyes searched the ground for the errant Pheonix.



Even after the fallen timber had been cleared there was no sign of the Phoenix!

Unfortunately, the Pheonix seemed to like being high up in the trees and had merely moved from the felled tree in to one that was still standing. If anything it seemed to be higher up and more firmly entangled in the branches.20161023_140816-1067x600

Dave got his transmitter and tried  to fly it out of the trees, but even after much advice and practical help from colleagues, some of which was useful, the Pheonix was still well and truly stuck!20161023_142047

So there it was left! The hope is that it will come to earth on its own over the next few days. The Pheonix might fall from the ashes. (or are they birch?)


If you look towards the Alne from the flying strip, you might see a gap where a tree was cut down in order to retrieve ‘A’ Dave’s Pheonix. It must have been an ash tree, surely?


Dave Modifies his Riot!

It was quite a bleak, somewhat miserable day on Wednesday 25th May. Helping to cut the grass on the landing strip meant standing around for some time in the chilly wind watching the more experienced  members of the club operating the mowers with precision and skill. When flying actually commenced, one or two members were were chilled to the bone. However, Campervan Dave had a plan to warm us up.


He launched his Riot and flew it about for a bit. I was flying my Trainstar at the time, so I didn’t take a great deal of notice of the sounds that were coming from Dave. He often comments on how well his flight is going, so at this stage I wasn’t concerned!  However, when I landed the Trainstar I was the only person on the flying field and when I returned to where the cars were parked, there wasn’t a soul in sight! Everyone seemed to have disappeared!

To cut what could be a long story a bit shorter, it appears that Dave had lost control of the Riot which had quickly flown out of the flying field and apparently out of the next field as well! Everyone had formed a search party to look for the missing Riot.

The good news is that the Riot was found. The bad news is that it had apparently landed on its tail. Again another first for Dave.





When it was first inspected, there didn’t seem to be much damage!
















However, on further inspection there was some minor damage which would probably need a bit more than a polish!



Dave was sure that when the Riot took off, both wheels were pointing in the same direction.







He was also sure that it didn’t have an all flying tailplane and rudder!





















In fact the damage was so bad that Mel commented – ‘It’s dead, Jim!’ ( I think that’s what he said!)








There was much speculation about what had caused Dave to lose control. Some suggested the ultra-sophisticated, modern, technically advanced frequency hopping ACCST technology. Others suggested pilot error and failing eye sight. There was no firm conclusion to this debate.









Dave tried to screw the Riot back together with his biggest screwdriver, but even after lots of advice and guidance from colleagues backed up with offers of gaffer tape, superglue, hammers and a six inch nail, Dave decided to abandon flying for the day and get the Riot back to the workshop for a bit of a makeover. It remains to be seen whether he chooses to keep the all flying tailplane and rudder.

On the bright side – the folding prop was still serviceable!









Rescue boat sees action

Today, the model aircraft rescue boat was called into action for the first time!

After a distress call from Adrian`s Catalina the rescue boat was quickly deployed and sent on it`s way.

Rescue boat launch (800x451)

We have just received amateur footage from a distressed on looker who used a mobile phone to capture some dramatic video which shows the moment the rescue boat returned to shore after completing it`s successful mission, (pity about the giant finger but I did use the term amateur).

Another on the spot story, brought to you by our on the spot reporter.

Plane Crush!

It is with some surprise and a little sadness  that I have to report the first plane crush at the SMFC flying field in living memory!

It happened last Sunday, 1st November when Tony C. performed an act of enthusiastic parking, probably encouraged by the beautiful weather, and failed to spot Campervan Dave’s Trainstar next to his campervan.

Words were exchanged and deals were struck. Needless to say, the Trainstar didn’t fly that day! It remains to be seen if Tony can perform a minor miracle and repair the damage done, or if the Trainstar is consigned to the great runway in the sky!

Other than that, it was a stunning day!


It sounds more like something Scott or I would have done, but it was Norman who had a bit of a moment this weekend with his Radion, and appeared to do a bit of a strafing run on poor Steve who was minding his own business, bungee flying in the next field. You can almost see the whites of his eyes:

All joking aside, it is a reminder of the dangers inherent in our hobby, how important it is to be aware and alert to the aircraft around and how much worse this could have possibly ended.

Thank you to Norman for the video.

Over the hills and far away

I wanted to test the camera gimbal on my quad, and I certainly did that.

After a quick orientation I decided to get a bit of height, see how quickly it can climb, get a bit of speed and generally give it a bit of a shake down. At ground level there was very little wind, so I didn’t anticipate just how much wind there was at height. This was recorded from the ground station, I think the only reason that I got such a good range from it was because of the height that the quad ended up at.

The speed is shown on the left, with the maximum recorded speed shown above the slider, the height shown on the right, again with the maximum recorded height above the slider. Sorry I haven’t removed the sound so please turn the sound off before playing it.

As you can see the maximum recorded speed appears to be 61mph at a height of almost 1000ft.

We did a significant amount of searching both on my own and then with Scott and Tracey by car, with no luck. After returning home and using a better internet connection I used the last frames recorded, converted the coordinates to full decimal format, which google seems to like displaying better, this was a location that we didn’t search. (click the image to open google maps to that location)


So I made my way back and there it was, almost exactly in this location (just over 1.1 miles from the takeoff point):20150125_153608

Needs a little work, but at least everything has been retrieved.

On the bright side the gimbal appears to work perfectly.

FPV Drone Disaster Movie

Gaining confidence with the Quad copters, I decided to have a try a flying mine by FPV rather than line of site. Thing didn’t quite go according to plan, below are 2 videos of the same flight, the first is from the ground station with the telemetry, the second is from the quad itself, higher resolution, but without any telemetry readout.

Although the orientation was easier in FPV than line of site, I seemed to be spending more time trying to correct drifts and rolls rather than flying it. I suspect the cheap boards that we have purchased are a little lacking, the addition of accelerometers rather than just the giros may help to stabalise the quad and make it easier to fly in this way. Although there are plenty of other videos on the web which these boards are used and they fly beautifully, which does make me think that we have not mastered the settings of this board yet, and need some more practice. The full roll over at the end of the video is a bit perplexing. I did remove the goggles because I didn’t think I could land it safely FPV. The RSSI is showing a good signal at the receiver, I released the sticks and increased the power slightly with the intention that the giros would level the quad, but they didn’t. Just before this flight I did increase the ‘I’ factoring on the board, perhaps this was set to high (perhaps higher than the ‘P’ factor) and so the board into continuing to roll rather than correcting the roll. I increased this with the intention of trying to make the quad more stable, and slower for FPV.

Fortunately very little damage seems to have been done to the quad, 2 broken props and 1 slightly bent motor mount. It will fly again!

Not a good day for FPV

Although today was a beautiful day, and I was looking forward to trying the new FPV OSD that I didn’t get to try properly next time out due to problems with the GPS.

This time out it still took a little while to get a full GPS fix, but it did fix. This was the first flight, watch the received signal strength from the spectrum receiver:

So the faulty receiver swapped out and fly again:

Unfortunately that spelt the end of the Cub for today, but it will fly again