Newsletter April 2016
Welcome to our first online Newsletter.
It has been very encouraging to learn that several new members have joined the Leatherhead Model Flying Club as a result of reading our new updated website.
We hope you will continue to enjoy using it. Not just by reading but contributing too. We would welcome any news or photos you are happy for us to publish. Just send them to one of the club officers whose email addresses are on the website.
Why not join the Members’ Forum (Members only) and you can keep up to date on recent local and national events, the condition of the field, etc.
From the Chairman, David Richardson
Welcome, we have a new editor for our newsletter. He has taken on the website and the newsletter. The website is already a vast improvement on the previous one. It is through your using it that it will improve. If you haven’t looked at our new website then it is found at:
Remember it is your web page and we would appreciate any contributions from members.
Please send anything you would like put onto the website to one of the committee.
The weather has been against us since Christmas. I believe that few people have been to the field this year. The weather improved sufficiently for the ground to be navigable on 18th March, but there have been few days when the wind has dropped enough for all except the most determined pilot.
The clocks have now gone forward perhaps the weather will improve – eventually.
The AGM is coming. It is on 13th April at Eastwick Infants School starting at 7.30 do come along, we are having a “Bring and Buy” and if there is time more indoor flying.
e-gliding from Ian Harvey
I often wonder why so few people fly e-gliders at the Leatherhead airport. If you really want to scream around the sky, occasionally bumping into the ground harder than you meant to that’s fine. But there is another side to flying life.
Just imagine that the plane flies quite slowly, so you have more time to think and react. Just think that, because the models tend to be bigger, you can see and fly them further away and higher. Just think that you can get a flight time of thirty minutes from a 2 minute cumulative motor run (my own best is actually 60 minutes from 15 seconds motor run – and I ended that when I got a crick in my neck). And just think of the challenge of hunting for thermals, figuring out where the wind off a hedge or clump of trees triggers an updraft, how the ploughed field on the other side of the Mole gets warmer faster and triggers the odd bubble or two and working out where the up (and down) drafts are beneath the little clouds that I seem to remember we had in the last sunny warm weather.
Years ago I used to slope soar as a member of the Meon Valley Soaring Association on Butser Hill, just north of Portsmouth. It’s good fun and I’m still a member, but it’s a long drive only to find the wind has dropped by the time you get there. It was the development of e-drive into gliders which really rekindled my interest in model flying. My first larger model was the Multiplex Cularis (now superseded by the Solius) which was amazingly crash resistant and accepted many repairs. It also had a tendency to tip stall (not my flying, of course) as I was circling slowly trying to find the thermals or doing too sharp a turn into finals.
My two large models you may have seen at the field are the white Staufenbiel Last Down 3XL v3 (3.6m with a wood and foam built-up wing with little vertical winglets and glass fuselage) and the yellow-peril Valenta Volcano (3.75m, all glass). The Last Down is more of a floater and the Volcano is really strong, slippery and retains its energy well in modest aerobatics (no rolling circles for me, thank you very much). Both pick up thermals really well.
I also have a couple of smaller ones – the J Perkins Samurai (1.75m, foam and wood wing, climbs like a rocket) and the foamie v-tail Staufenbiel Mistral (2.2m and a lazy climb but also a real floater).
The next big change for me was putting a vario into the planes. Listening through that funny little earpiece to the height and whether the plane is in lift or sink was a real transformation. From a distance you really can’t make those fine judgements about whether it’s gently rising or gently sinking. It’s also good feedback because you can watch the plane fly and relate things like a wing lifting to turning the opposite way because that is where the lift is.
Had you been at the field a couple of weeks ago you would have seen the maiden flight of my latest - Vladimir’s (from the Ukraine) Maxa 4e. It’s a rather lurid pink – but maybe that’s what Ukrainians like. It’s an F5J, mainly carbon fibre, beautifully made by Vlad, 4m wing span, just under 2kg and it flew like a dream – and amazingly slowly. It’s supposed to have a very efficient airfoil and clean wing/fuselage. We shall see what kind of flight times I can get from it. If anyone is interested the website is http://f3j.in.ua/en. It also came with a carbon tube for putting lead ballast in for strong winds – but I left that bit off, preferring to switch to the Volcano, is a naturally heavier model for when the wind blows.
A recent book I read is Thermal Gliding (available from Traplet). Even though it was written by Germans it is an entertaining read but also full of useful advice. One basic rule that I had not always appreciated is “keep your nose down”. It’s very tempting when you think you are a little short/low on finals to keep the nose up to eke out that glide. Wrong! Keeping the nose down increases the airspeed giving you a longer, flatter glide. I think the BA co-pilot who saved the 777 which landed short at Heathrow after its engines stopped must have known that. The book also includes some pretty good aeronautical maths for those so inclined.
The club has now, for better or worse, made me a Club Instructor for e-gliders. I would be very happy to introduce any club member to e-gliding and to provide instruction to help you down that route. Because I travel a lot my flying days tend to be a bit erratic. If you would like to give it a try, please contact me, preferably by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at my home number 01372 454 010 so we can arrange a time and date to rendezvous at the field.
Safety information note: Safety checks to ensure airworthiness
Article 166, paragraph 2 states “The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft may only fly the aircraft if reasonably satisfied that the flight may be safely made”. This means that YOU the pilot (or instructor) must ensure that the model can make a safe flight, this is YOUR responsibility. Once in the air it is obviously too late and the opportunity to avoid an accident has potentially passed. Most of our accidents at the flying field are rated as avoidable. You must check over the model to ensure that it is fully operational. The start of the flying season presents an ideal opportunity to give your models a thorough ‘going over’ to ensure that they are fully functional and able to make safe flights. Checking after and before each flight, albeit, less intensive is essential. You should be particulary wary after a hard landing or crash as damage may not be immediately obvious. Provided below is a listing of checks which you should make, this is not exhaustive and you should add as appropriate.
All electrical connections are sound/ tight
Wiring in good order (not corroded) and safely routed
Aerial(s) appropriately routed or positioned
Transmitter and receiver batteries fully functional
Fail safe appropriately setup
Servos running smoothly with full/appropriate range of travel
All screws/ fittings tight/secure (e.g. servo tray, servo horns, control line linkages)
Correct movement of control surfaces
Check for evidence of loose structures (e.g. engine mounting, servo tray, tail fin and tailplane - these and other structures can all get damaged with heavy landings)
Free running landing gear wheels & securely attached
Control surfaces (ailerons, elevator & rudder) securely attached and with free movement
Engine bolts securely attached
Battery/ fuel tank secure and associated lines in good order
Control surface horns and linkages must be tight and checked for loose play
All screws and bolt should be secure and tight
Tappets of four strokes may need checking and adjustment
Thorough cleaning of carburettor if the engine has not been used for some time
Propeller securely attached
Battery is charged and fully functional
If you have doubts about any item then a replacement would be a sensible investment, obvious suspects here would include the transmitter, receiver, batteries and engines.
Flying Hours (from an article by Geoff Bignold)
The fields that LMFC and the football club use belong to Mole Valley District Council. They were a bequest to the council, made on condition that they should be used for recreational activities.
LMFC have a licence from MVDC for the use of our field for 10 hours of power flying per week. We divide this between Saturday afternoon, Sunday morning and Wednesday afternoon.
Additionally, there are 5 further hours available for silent flight. Historically this was Sunday afternoon but more recently Thursday afternoon has become more popular. Every year the wind, rain, flooding of the field and other difficulties always make some flying sessions impracticable. To make up for this, flying sessions on Bank Holiday Mondays and occasional summer evening barbeque events may be declared by the committee.
If you are aware of anybody using the field for model flying outside of LMFC times please let a member of the committee know. We do not want to have our licence put at risk by their activities.
Since that note was written we have changed from Wednesday to Tuesday to avoid the footballers.
I note that, according to Geoff’s article the Thursday slot is only licensed for silent flight. We have been a bit lax on this recently and I am not aware of any change in the licence so please respect this and leave the noisier electric models at home on Thursdays.