Arch Jetexinista Howard Metcalfe had two splendid days at Middle Wallop, where the weather was sunny and calm for most of the day. Howard tells me a full report will be posted in due course (when he's recovered and gathered in all the photos) but here is a taster of what was a grand end to the 'Flying Season'.
Above: Howard's fleet (note the many used motors, always a good sign!); Howard with a clutch of models; Howard concentrating on the Spook; a splendid action shot of Howard launching the ever-reliable Wren.
Howard comments: "We had about one and a quarter full days of actually nice flying weather as it got windy on both days later on but we flew and flew and flew. Not a wonderful turnout on either day which was disappointing but all in all a fab weekend".
Meanwhile, on a flying field far far away (well actually my local field, Godmanchester Proving Grounds) Andy Blackwell and I were also enjoying the irresistibly sunny and calm autumn day.
We had a very good time - I used (I counted them) 54 motors. The L-2's performed splendidly with the Hawk, Bell X-1E, Issakson Star, Graupner Temco, KK Shadow Shooting Star and the new Mirage. The L-2HP's are very short duration. OK for Skyray, but overpowered everything else. Oh for some 130-140 mN for 17 sec !I was pleased that all the models I took - had successful flights. Andy had less success with his genuine Jetex Interceptor. We tried not a few 50B motors and one 50C, which gave more power, but not, alas, a complete flight:. It seemed to put its nose up after coming away from a launch and the 'fall off' to one side or the other, not recovering from the slight stall. Some rethinking is called for! .
Above: of the models I took only the 'semi profile' Skyray relished the L-2 HP motors we have. The flight pattern was: nice not too steep climb out; a turn to a steeper climb ... brief level phase, motor stops, glide to landing. Very nice, yes, but all too short. I'm hoping next year's L-2X's will suit this quite large model.
Note the bag of 'empties'. I wonder if there is a market for used Rapiers !
Howard has written this lovely evocation of what was a splendid end to the 2015 'Jetex' Flying Season.
"When we arrived at Middle Wallop on Saturday morning, it was cold and dull, a bit windy and the ankle length grass was wet. This was not what was forecast at all!
But things soon brightened up when the sun appeared between the clouds and the breeze dropped to nil or less :
So my brother Clive (who flies his own design electric powered scale models) and I set off for the short grass by the edge of the grass runways:
Profiles are easy to carry in a bunch thanks to their flat noses!
Bob Pickernell, the only other rocketeer on the field joined us with his Rapier models:
Bob's models flew well. The Flying Wing had a tendency to screw left into the ground immediately on launch, so it had to be thrown hard to the right to get it away! But it then flew in lovely climbing circles The Skyjet and SpaceJet performed some great high climbing flights, though the latter later snapped in two on a tumbled landing after a few good flights. It's easily fixed though .
My models also flew well - read on:
The Attacker, not flown for several years, was a bit off form - on one launch it climbed away to the right, on another it went left. I had built one of these in the early 1950’s. This didn't ever fly properly, so it was great to see it in the air again even if the flight profile was a bit off:
I cannot decide if the Grumman Cougar, on only its second outing, needs more power or is just too nose heavy, so it needs more testing needed before I finish it properly.
The Valiant flew in the groove as usual and gave some very nice flights on standard L2’s, its elegant shape circling around above us in the calm air without getting very high.
I expected a similar performance with the Comet but I am missing something here as once again it turn too sharply straight into the ground breaking off its nose even though I had spent some time hand launching it checking that the glide was straight enough. It must have two opposing warps and one takes over as the speed builds up. Hmm ...
Bill Dean’s enlarged Spook once again gave a stellar performance, climbing very high almost straight above us on an L2 and then gliding off in a wide circle, only to return and land nearby.
The T38 Talon was another high climber on both L2 and L2LT’s:
It also has a very good glide ... usually downwind so had some quite long walks! The little yellow Boulton Paul P111A looked cute in the sky and was much more foot friendly and stayed close to its launch pad by climbing steeply and then going into a series of loops all round us.
The little black all Depron BAe Hawk is only powered by an L1 but the current batch are quite powerful and it went wandering off each time at high speed in very wide circuits:
Later in the day, when the breeze had risen well above 5mph and there was turbulence coming off the trees, its flight path became very bizarre, with snap half rolls, steep climbs, spins and stalls from which it recovered every time. A formidable little flyer.
The Skyray (next two pics) was quite tame with standard L2’s and did not get to great heights this time, though it looked great in the air:
It's a pity I hadn't realised I still had some L2X’s lurking in the bottom of my box,. They would have sorted it out!
The Jetex Wren goes like a rocket (ha ha) with an L-2:
Designed by Mike Ingram way back the 1950’s, it flies like a good ‘un unless it has badly warped surfaces. For the record, I once saw one flown with a Jetex 50C and the speed had to be seen to be believed, and yet is so stable and reliable. A true classic in my opinion, and a grand sight in the air. [note Jetex.org has a kit for this wonderful design].
The wind was by now up around 8mph, but the Viggen, Swift and Mig 29 all flew very well with the more powerful Rapier L2HP’s . Although the run is short (about 10-12 sec) they do give spectacular thrust and the Swift performed a couple of the nicest, highest and fastest flights I have yet seen it make.
The Mig 29 gave some memorable flights at the end of the day:
It climbed very steeply ahead of me into what must have been lift, then levelled off and turned downwind as the power ran down and proceeded to glide and glide and glide ... fortunately Clive was well downwind retrieving one of his models. This saved my tired legs!
All in all wonderful and most memorable day.
Sunday was a mini version of Saturday, but took it much more gently, and my jets, apart from the Cougar, flew well. The Hawk, which is from my Aeromodeller plan is the smallest and lightest model with the least power, gave me the longest walks as it does fly fast and wide:
After a calm morning the wind gathered force and blew us off the field by early afternoon.
To sum up: A great weekend at Middle Wallop with wonderful company and a very rare phenomenon these days – lovely flyable weather.
I had lots of chats with people interested in my models and Rapiers or Jetex, but, sadly, apart from Bob, there were no other jet models. Also, for such lovely conditions the attendance was way down - perhaps with all our recent foul weather modellers have forgotten how to have fun?
I have to thank Tony Moore and Peter Sanders for the terrific airborne shots. I am hope to get a few more photos and videos later, and add them to this post or put in some links as and when."[/color][/color]
Just to add that Howard's Hawk, available as an Aeromodeller plan, or from us, can also be built as a 'Red Arrow':
We can supply the colour templates. This version is made of balsa, and a little larger than the Depron original, but, as spectators at Old Warden will affirm, and with a standard L-2, it flies just as well. Highly recommended!
Howard's brother, Clive, has posted a video of their flying at Middle Wallop on You Tube. Here's the link:
The jet action starts at about 4'38" ....
Clive comments that "videoing gets in the way of flying, so many great flights went unrecorded". But there are some splendid Rapier flights of Howard's Cougar, Supermarine 508 and BP 111 for you to enjoy.
as a taster, below are a couple of rather nice action shots:
Above: the Cougar, which howard says actually flew better than he remembered!
Above: Howard launches his diminutive yellow BP 111 delta.
Howard's mention of "recent foul weather" brought back memories of Old Warden in July! But the disappointment that there wasn't more flying weather at OW (but what there was, was taken full advantage of by inter alia Andy Blackwell) has been at least partly compensated for by the splendid illustrated accounts here of Middle Wallop.
The following user(s) said Thank You: rogersimmonds, ahmetcalfe
I have now got some pictures to show taken by Dave Etherton, his comment was 'this might be the last time we fly at Middle Wallop'. I hope not, I'm sure common sense will prevail ..... eventually. We have had some golden times at M/W so I make no excuses for showing more pics to remind ourselves just how lucky we have been and how great it is to fly our little jet models. Thanks for the pics Dave.
The following user(s) said Thank You: rogersimmonds