After reading the reports here of flying at Old Warden this year, what struck me was the variability of the Rapiers i.e. low power runs at times or worse still not even lighting. So I was more than a little concerned about the state of my stock as they were all purchased in 2016!
To find out I managed to get in a couple of brief test flying sessions locally last week and although I only flew the L1 and L2LT’s I am relieved and happy to report that they performed faultlessly. Lighting up instantly with my gas powered ‘Hot Rod’ igniter (my name for it!) and giving full welly (read - power!). It may or may not be significant that I store each pack of 10 in a zip lock bag with a little sachet of silica gel and keep them in a warm room. I recon the Rapiers L1’s power could be rated at 80mN plus and the L2LT’s as 120mN plus, perfect, when can we buy some more please MR Z?
First off I flew the L1’s in a profile Hawker Hunter of my own design that I had put aside in 2005 because it was impossible to trim out properly. Recent careful examinations of the model revealed very little incidence and the CG way too far back, oh well we live and learn. Having re-jigged it a bit I was keen to test it and this was my chance. On the first day, because I had broken off the glued in down thrust tab, I flew it without it and got a nice couple of climbing and looping flights which at least showed some consistency in direction and pattern. As it was quite windy the looping flights didn’t go far and saved me a long walk fortunately. The next day with a new down thrust tab in place and on a calmer day it flew a treat, climbing up fast to a good height in a couple of wide circuits then gliding off dead straight. The glide was rather too steep though, a good job in this case as it landed just before the tree line, phew. Another little job to be attended to before for the next trip out to the field.
On the other hand my profile Rapier L2LT powered DH Comet which is normally such a good performer, misbehaved on both days. Annoyingly it refused to fly more that a couple of circuits left or right without hitting the ground prematurely, thankfully the grass was long and saved the usual carnage. Careful examination later revealed a twisted wing right from the root, I’ll have to store it more carefully in future. At least it proved that the L2LT’s have plenty of power as it was flying quite fast which I found very encouraging except that I only have a few LT’s left.
I’m waiting now to get to a bigger field like Salisbury Plain and test out the L2’s, L2x’s and L2HP’s, hope we get some more nice days before it becomes brass monkey weather.