RAF 100th Anniversary

My newly refurbished Sandpiper (formerly ‘The Green Thing’) flew for the first time on Sunday April 1st 2018 – the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Royal Air Force. Hence the commemorative RAF roundel!

Thanks must go to Barry who assisted in the take-off by holding down the rear of the Sandpiper so that the nose wheel didn’t dig in to the very wet grass.

New Year – New Project!

At first sight this might look like a portable wind break – but it isn’t!
It’s actually Barry’s new slope project – a big delta winged glider made from sheets of plywood! Ask Barry for details!

Barry flew it for the first time off a bungy (or is that bungee?) at the field last Sunday (14/01/18)
Barry said after the attempt that the CoG needs adjusting! Good luck Barry!

Let’s hope this is the first of many new projects for 2018!

Slightly late – Happy New Year!



Maiden of Bush Mule and Foxeer Camera

A double maiden today, in the air at the same time in exactly the same place.

The first maiden is the Avios Bush Mule, released by hobbyking as the successor to the Sky Mule. The new Bush Mule has much larger tyres, an openable cargo door, and new lights I believe. The upshot is a twin engined STOL cargo plane which is very capable on a standard field such as ours.

The handling of the plane is excellent, out of the box needed very little trimming, the place is responsive, but can be turned down, very much in the same character of a high wing plane such as the tundra or the riot. The advantage of course is that it is a twin so has the clear forward view from the nose. This clear view, big landing gear, and loads of space inside for an autopilot system does, in my view make the plane ideal for an FPV plane, although I haven’t put the FPV gear in this plane yet.
From my flights today I haven’t gained confidence enough to slow the plane down enough on landing, so my landing were rather fast and bouncy, but I think that will come as I get more used to it.
This leads us to the second maiden which is for the Foxeer Legend 2 camera

The camera is the same form factor as the mobius, similar size, similar lens and similar weight. However the legend 2 has a frame rate up to 240 frames per second at 640×480 and a maximum resulution of 2880×2160 (UHD) at 24 frames per second, giving the nice option of 60FPS at 1080p HD. It also offer HDR (High Dynamic Range) which give better colour reproduction and Electronic Image Stabalisation (EIS). The camera also has an AV ouput making it suitable for FPV and a silicon case to offer a little protection to the camera in the event of a crash. Finally the camera can be configured via wifi from a smartphone. A quite impressive package for £53 from banggood, even more impressive when you realise this is significantly cheaper that the new Mobius which still has a maximum resolution frame rate of 1080p @ 30fps. Here is the mobius and the legend2 side by side.

Then here are 2 video taken from the bush mule on the legend2 the first video is 1080p@60fps

the second is taken at UHD@24fps although youtube did breifly show this highest resolutions when I uploaded it, it then disappeared, maybe it will re-appear later, but here it is.

Both these videos were taken with HDR and EIS turned on. Most image stabalisation seems to damp movement on the video, on this camera the most noticable effect is that fantastic stills can be taken from the video, I recommend that you click on this image to see the full size image, and just how clear it is, such little jitter and shake on the image:

An equivalent picture from a mobius

All in all I am very happy with both the plane and the camera, and I would happily recommend both anyone.

PSSA Meeting Great Orme Sept 2016

The PSSA organised a mass build this year the subject chosen was the Sky Hawk, last weekend was the day when all of the models were presented and flown.

Steve Bowdler decided that he would like to build one and here are a few photos that were taken at the great day of judging, as you can see the standard was high.

Sky Hawk Great Orme-1 (800x532)

Time for the maiden, Steve told me there was a good blow so plenty of lift available

Sky Hawk Great Orme-3 (800x532)

Sky Hawk Great Orme-4 (800x532)

Sky Hawk Great Orme (800x530)

Steve took his model down to Cornwall with the intension of doing the maiden flight there, but the conditions were just not right for it.

I took the opportunity to photograph it, here are my pictures so you can see Steve`s model in greater detail, I think you will agree it looks smart.

100_0012 (640x360)

100_0013 (640x360)

Thanks to Steve for letting us share his photos.



Sloping and floating off the Great Orme.

I stopped off at the Great Orme on my way back from a bike trip to Scotland to see a hardy bunch of SMFC slopers, and I was glad I did!

On Sunday 8th May the weather started damp, but gradually improved throughout the day to such an extent that when I got home I was chastised severely for not applying any form of protection from the sun!

However, on to the sloping!

First the participants assembled as per instructions:




Dave was planning to fly a new (old) model he had just completed! He was given ample support and encouragement by all, including Adrian who was to be test pilot for the maiden flight!:



Eventually, after much procrastination it was time to fly. Again help was on hand , and after some concern about the flexibility of the wings, the model was thrown in to the sky:




Where it flew rather well!



To say Dave was happy would be a massive understatement!



However, despite his massive experience, the test pilot was rather put off by the multiple announcements of ‘RSSI Critical’ which kept being issued by Dave’s transmitter. Adrain had never heard anything like it in all his flying days, and therefore was keen to get the model back to land where the problem could be investigated.

The model was landed undamaged, no small feat on the rocky surface of the Great Orme, and the best minds on the Orme offered more advice and guidance to Dave who was rather perplexed!


















Despite all the skills and experience available to Dave, his model didn’t fly again that day!
















In the meantime, Mel was quietly going about his hobby with the usual enthusiasm:P1030333


Later in the day, an observant flyer noticed that Tony had wondered off on his own somewhere.



Apparently he had lost sight of his model and had gone off to look for it .

Some time later there was a cry of ‘There it is!’ followed by many hands pointing towards the sea!

Sure enough, the model was spotted in the Irish Sea and appeared to be making its way around the headland!


P1030340 P1030343 P1030341 P1030342


Despite Tony describing his glider as a ‘floater’, I’m sorry to have to report that currently there have been no reports of further sightings. We will have to assume the worst!

Another enjoyable day’s sloping with SMFC!

Thanks to all!

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.

First Try at Quad Air to Air Filming — Or Quads IV – A New Hope

Yes I’m now up to the 4th revision of my quadcopter (sorry Scott, I couldn’t resist carrying on your Star Wars theme). I’ve now used 3 different frames and 2 different controller boards, and this is now the latest version, now with a new frame with landing skids, turnigy 1400kv motors, 8×6 props but using the same Qbrain quad ESC and MultiWII pro controller board from the previous version.20150208_141442I try to tune the copter to make it basically flyable without using the self levelling function of the MultiWii board, this configuration needed higher P setting (around 6 to 6.5) and higher I setting (around 0.2). Although I wanted to set these higher, raising them above this level creates feedback and big wobbles. Switching on the self levelling now keeps the quad reasonably stable, having these settings lower switching on self levelling generated a ‘noticeable’ feedback wobble.

So now with my new quad trimmed and stabled out (well as good as I can get it for the moment) I gave it a bit of a more sedate test flight, and tried to do a bit of tracking of other planes in the air. Although as I was flying line of sight and trying to track other planes without specifically working with the associated pilots (so needed to try to ensure that I didn’t get it their way or crash into them). The results were limited:

Sorry for getting a little close and worrying you there Mr Mike. With the wide angle lens the planes are a bit of a small dot until I was very close, perhaps a mobius with a standard lens rather than the wide angle may be better for this type of filming. I have also tilted the camera down a little for improved FPV vision, again for this air to air filming a more horizontal position would be better. The board’s program can be updated to make this dynamic from a receiver channel, but I am out of channels both on my transmitter and receiver. Also the camera is getting quite a bit of vibration and wobble, some of this is certainly down to the fact that the camera is out on a platform stuck out of the front of the quad, so is going to always be susceptible to this, but also I think the standard analogue servos I am using would allow the platform to wobble more than I would like, so I have ordered some metal geared digital servos to replace these, they should hold the gimbal more securely. I will try again once they arrive.

The change to the faster motors and smaller props seem to make the quad a little more difficult to tune, they certainly use battery life more quickly, but other than this don’t make a huge amount of difference to the quad.


Update 16/02/2015


Catalina and Updated OSD test flight

Mr Scott recently brought my attention to an excellent hobbyking deal of the Catalina at £50 it was a bit of a bargain for a PNF. When it arrived it was made of polystyrene which is not the best, I did replace a couple of servos, they seemed a bit iffy, and changed the props since the ones that came with the model wouldn’t sit correctly on the motors and vibrated. But the main reason for purchasing was because it had such a huge capacity inside, a low wing loading so it should be able to lift a moderate weight and twin engines ment that an FPV camera would have a nice clear view. I also came across a new piece of software for the mini-OSD that I bought, uOSD. Now that I had bought a USBasp connector and soldered the connectors onto my mini-OSD as per the instructions here: http://arxangelrc.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/g-osd-excellence-osd-re-flashing-and-programming.html the uOSD software was super easy to customise what was on the screen and where it was and it looked pretty good too.

So on Sunday I loaded it all up and although I thought I would make a couple of test flight not via FPV since the equipment was loaded I recorded the flights anyway. On the screen you will see in the top left the powered up time and the RSSI signal strenght, top middle the total distance travelled in feet, home set and direction icons and maximum distance from home in feet. On the left is the speed (mph) with the maximum speed above it, in the middle is a direction to home indicator, on the right the altitude in feet with the max above it. At the bottom of the screen aside from the GPS coordinates there is the current battery voltage on the left (with an optional second battery voltage currently not connected), in the middle bearing to home, and distance to home in feet on the right is the number of GPS satellites currently in use.

Its quite a nice easy plane to fly, very light wing loading means it floats around in the wind a bit making landing with even a bit of cross wind a bit of a challenge. The transmitter aerial also could do with a bit more thought, at the moment it is sticking out on the left of the plane, so when the left side is closest to the field (home arrow points left) the picture is ok, pointing the opposite way the picture tends to break up. Nothing that can’t be fixed.

Hopefully next week we can give it a proper FPV test fly.

Jas39 Unbox and Maiden

I was lucky enough to be bought a new plane for Christmas, Starmax’s version of the Saab Jas39 Gripen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saab_JAS_39_Gripen).

The model was nicely boxed, easy to unpack and put together. It came with 3 servos preinstalled for the elevons and the rudder. It also came with the speed controller and a ‘custom’ EDF unit.



To complete the build was simple. Stick the wings, canards, tail vertical stabilizer, nose cone and canopy, although the tube of glue which came with the model was completely empty. The control horns where then screwed into place and the addition of the control rods, which was already fed through the fuselage for the rudder and just needed attaching an trimming to length. The battery hatch is quite small, only large enough for a 1300mah 3 cell battery, the AR400 radio fitted nicely in a cavity just behind the battery compartment, and aside from the water slide transfers it was ready for its maiden flight.


I was lucky to have some help hand launching it for its first flight (also the camera woman). The first flight needed quite a bit of trimming out, once it was trimmed it glides fantastically.

The second flight was even better now it is trimmed.

As with most EDFs it does struggle a bit on take off until it gets a bit of airspeed, I think it will benefit from a bungee launch, so have put a hook on the bottom of it, just in time for the bungee cord breaking. We shall see how much difference this will make.

But all in all, very happy, Really easy to put together, once going it seems to have enough power to get some reasonable speed (although its not the fastest plane), flies well at speed and doesn’t stall easily, and glides brilliantly.