For a change the weather looked set to be brilliant for the whole weekend and so it turned out to be.
There was one snag though and that was the long grass everywhere except the runways which threatened to hide some of the smaller models for good and some that were not so small. As a result I kept many of my smaller models that tended to go a long way downwind back in the box. The grass was of a length that I had not seen before at M/W, a late grass crop due no doubt to the poor weather we have had.
Not only was the grass causing problems finding the models but it was also very tiring after two days of walking through it, I was a tired bunny by Sunday night - no wonder a lot of people seemed to leave early, as you can see in the last pic below the field is empty of flyers by 5pm and we could have stayed until 6pm!
Pic 1 shows the Rapier models I flew on Saturday: Valiant, DH Comet, Mig 29, Aristo-Craft Supermarine Swift in the colours worn for the World Speed Record and KK Dolphin, all with Rapier L2X’s which was just about the perfect power for them. This esulted in many super flights although, both the Valiant and Comet were a bit overpowered by the L-2X’s, and neither behaved themselves properly, with unexpected flights into the ground on several occasions. Alternatively, my current L-2's are a bit underwhelming with these two so I will have to await some decent 150mN ones for them.
I found though that the L2X’s needed drilling out a touch for reliable ignition and sometimes even my powerful electric igniter failed to light them and I had to resort to fuses. I did find out though that fuse ignition is very handy in that it gave me an extra moment of time to get the model ready for launching while the fuse burns down. This was really useful with the Swift as I was trying to use a hand launch holding the nose instead of the usual rubber band aided catapult launch. The L2X’s are more powerful than previous year’s L2HP’s unless you go way back to the early days of 260mN+, and it has been many years since I have had such great flights with the last three of the group..In fact I stopped bothering to fly them with the wimpy 220mN L2HP’s long ago.
I also tried L-2HP’s in each of them but not only was the run time very short they way overpowered the models, causing loops into the ground. Some of these HP’s were also tricky to light as per the L2X’s - has Dr Z moulded in some nozzle material with the last millimetre or so of the propellant? Maybe it is present at the other end of the charge too as, at least with the L2X’s, the last few seconds did not give the usual spurt of extra power. There was a very nice silent and almost smokeless rundown allowing a perfect transition to the glide instead of the oft-seen power stall from which the model only just recovers on the glide before touching down. I do wonder if I have bought a pig in a poke with the L2HP’s as I have nothing suitable for them.
Pic two is all the models I flew on Sunday, rubber, Rapier and catapult if you count the Tornado hiding in the grass for a young lad to fly, from left foreground to right background: Skyray L2, KK Mustang rubber, KK Ace rubber, Guillows Hellcat rubber, DPR Typhoon catapult, Bill Dean Spook (x1.6) L2LT, KK Dolphin L2X, O/D Mooonlight rubber, Valiant L2X, BP P111A L2LT, O/D Viggen L2X and lastly hiding in the top right corner my trusty pseudo Dimer Staggerwing rubber (by Rich Webber). The Tomboy lurking at top left is not mine, my diesel models stayed in the car the whole weekend, how did I manage to resist them?
Off to my right I saw Russ Lister was flying a scaled down Dick Twomey design (Twizzler?) which had us all thinking it was going out of the field but it just landed inside after a lovely high climbing spiralling flight, which must have been using either an L2X or an old L2HP.
In the distance in the opposite direction I happened to see a number of very nice EDF flights by Stephen Glass with his J29 Tunnan powered by Derek’s 32mm fan unit and by Derek Knight with his Miles Student which seemed smaller so may have had his 24mm unit onboard. I also saw Mike Smart’s Blohm and Voss? little delta whine quietly overhead going for the road only to turn and land in the field at the last moment, phew. Very generally speaking the EDF models seem to fly higher and longer than our current Rapiers and it looks like flight patterns are getting more consistent and reliable now, very nice, I am almost getting used to their whine, and if I can get used to the funny noises coming from Formula One cars I can get used to anything! They do seem as tricky to trim out as our Rapiers powered models though, maybe even more tricky due to the higher wing loading requiring a greater speed to keep them in the air?
The abiding memories of the weekend, apart from the sun and heat on Sunday were the KK Dolphin gliding so gently and slowly down to the furthest grass ridge on the field, and, in contrast, the light blue Swift doing fast circuits above my head looking stunning against the deep blue sky with fluffy white clouds, every now and again dropping down to eye level for a swooshing pass.
Perfect, what more can you ask?
The following user(s) said Thank You: rogersimmonds
Howard , could you please give me some details about the Dolphin and its power pod ie what have you covered it with and perhaps how to make the pod , would love to own a rapier powered Dolphin it was one of the first kits that I made when I was a lad many years ago , thanks .
Thanks for asking about the Dolphin, I haven’t flown it for good while before M/W this year but it always causes a number of comments when I do like ‘oh I built one of those but never got to fly well’ etc, this one does fly.
Here are some pics that you may find useful, the Rapier mount is all 3/32 balsa and is designed so that the cross over rubber wing bands trap it at the front and rear. The foot is bent with heat to match the wing profile and the centre of the Rapier is above the front spar and arranged so that the thrust line is parallel to the wing seat/ fuselage top. The centre of the Rapier nozzle is 1.06” above the wing. As you can probably detect is has been broken a few times as it is lightly built but is easily fixed back together with cyano.
I didn’t build with the kit wood which was light enough as it happened and would have OK but I didn’t want all the part numbers showing through the clear covering. Mine weighs 42g including nose weight, the motor mount and used Rapier weigh an additional 3.5g. It works very well on a light bungee too when you run out of Rapiers as the glide is just lovely.
The wood was all painted with fluorescent Dylon fabric dyes before construction and the mylar covering was ½ mil for the Hooks. I’ve had the best flights with the older L2HP’s that had about 260mN’s and give the Dolphin a steep straight climb to a reasonable height, the latest L2HP’s have even more grunt but the run is shorter so it can get exciting.