Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Repairs page updated.

I've updated the repairs page with some pics and words describing my attempt at repairing the Skorp.

It'll be a bit weird to read in a years time, but I'll keep the newest updates at the top each time with the date of the updates in RED

Glider crash video.

Unfortunately, it was my glider and I was flying it, not filming it.





I think I can see that the battery did eventually give the servos some juice as it was my full down elevator input that caused it to dive in. Better that than the alternative of continuing on it's merry way to Nant-y-Moel.

I've started the repairs by removing the broken ballast tube and repairing it.

To do this I had to completely remove the nose from the skorp as it was only being held on by a couple of strands so that gives me the opportunity to remove all the material from the previous repairs and do a proper job.

The fuse aft of the wing is also broken, but that is only minor and an easy fix.

Apart from removing the control surfaces at impact, the wings really only need a clean, polish and a tiny bit of CA!

I'd like to try out my new paint scheme too, but we'll see what the weather is like and how much time I have left before the next comp (either 7th Dec or 21st Dec).

I have decided to upgrade my power supply for the receiver and servos. I will be using Panasonic NCR18650's (Li-Ion), a UBEC to get the voltage down to the appropriate 5 or 6v and the magnetic switch as previously fitted. not sure whether to run 2 or 3 cells and will see what fits and weighs the right amount as the voltage doesn't matter now that I can control the voltage supplied to the receiver.

One slight issue is that the telemetry for the Receiver pack voltage will need an external probe rather than using the inbuilt one.


Sunday, 23 November 2014

Hmmm... battery or wiring?

I fitted a magnetic switch (fantastic piece of kit available from T9 Hobbysport) into my Skorpion during the week and had to do some re-wiring and also changed the battery pack from an Eneloop pack to a Vapextech pack (both NiMh).

I charged it on Thursday in anticipation of some flying this weekend and was pretty excited to be able to get out to the VR Slope at the Bwlch this afternoon for a play in decent conditions.

I rigged up and did my usual pre-flight check consisting of switch on, wiggle wiggle, no alarms, good to go and launched. 30 seconds to a minute later my very helpful Taranis let me know that A1 was critical (receiver battery pack nearly empty) and I started to make my way to the landing area. I watched forlornly as my fully ballasted Skorpion circled over my head, over the road and was heading for Nant-y-Moel. In the hope that some form of life might creep back into the battery, I held in full down elevator as I watched her sail away and just before I lost sight, she managed to either stall in the attitude of full down elevator or the inputs finally worked.

3.7kgs of Skorpion digs quite a deep hole! and after some significant digging and effort I finally got the nose cone out of the ground and trudged back to the car with my Skorpion in 5 &1/2 pieces.

Andrzej tested my battery for me back at the car and it had 1.5v available which is pretty flat! I have a feeling I might have introduced a short in the wiring somewhere and will re-do the wiring in the fuselage when I repair it this week.

As I was collecting the pieces (Thanks Wayne and Clive for your help and support!) I was thinking that it was a bit of a mess but in reality, it's not too badly damaged at all! The control surfaces on the wing are all going to need to be re-attached and some epoxy or superglue will fix the very minor damage to the wing root on one half and that is all! The fuselage took a bit of a battering and will test my newly refreshed repair skills thanks to Paul Naton's glider repair lab series of videos.

I took a picture when I offloaded the bits into the garage this evening.


I did managed to have a bit of a play with my Wasabi and that helped to improve my mood a little. 

The VR Slope is a lovely slope with amazing views ............ but it gets ridiculously cold!!

Anyway, speaking of cold, I've got some repairing to do in the garage!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Whitesheet Slalom Competition 9 November 2014

On Saturday I was tossing up either going to the Bwlch on Sunday for a test and set-up session in what promised to be some fantastic conditions on Mickeys slope or driving to Mere in Ingerland to have a lark about in their Slope Slalom competition. I decided to go to Whitesheet and begged for permission from the boss to leave earlier than we had planned to be at Whitesheet by 10am.

By a bit of a fluke and some creative interpretation of mr Plod's rules for the road, I arrived at exactly 10! I had intended on getting there an hour earlier to have a bit of a trimming flight, but my bed was just toooo comfy this morning.

It was great to catch up with some guys I had flown with previously and also to meet some personalities I had only 'seen' online. It was quite exciting for me to meet Pat Teakle and launch one of his scale planes and watch him throw it around the slalom course. He's quite handy with a transmitter as well as a building board!

The slalom comp consisted of launching out between the start/finish gate, flying left beyond gate 1, turning upslope towards gate 2, flying back towards gate 1 and around the outside of it, flying back out through the start finish gate and out passed gate 3, turning upslope to fly around gate 4 then back outside gate 3 and through the start finish gate. the pilot then walks back to gate 5 behind him/her and flies upslope to go around gate 5 and then out through the start finish gate. Initially we were going to try to fly a full 360 around gate 5, but the conditions were very weak at the start of the comp so just around it was called. Excuse my child-like attempt at using Paint!



There was some fantastic flying on display today with Joe Cubitt showing some class and a clean pair of heels!

My first flight was a very interesting one! The Skorp did not want to gain any height for the first couple of minutes. It stubbornly stayed below the level of my feet and would not allow me to drag it around the course. Finally a little burst of height enabled me to wring every last ounce of air out of the slope while trying very hard not to clip the deck. My hands were shaking like a leaf when I had finally finished, partly because I had not flown a glider in that manner (like it was a stolen foamy!) for ages and partly because I was just plain nervous. There were numerous Ooohs, Aarghs, gasps and the sucking of air through teeth coming from the peanut gallery as I was flying, so I'm glad it was entertaining! 4 minutes and 20 odd seconds was very very slow.

The second round was much better air and I probably could have come straight onto the course but decided to get a little bit of momentum first and flew a very respectable 1 minute 15 second run. Joe pipped me for fastest run of the day with an extremely clean 1 minute and 7 second stormer! It really was very nice to watch.

I really enjoyed the format and would like to possibly hold one at the Bwlch (VR slope or Mickeys West would be perfect). It was a great fun, relaxing format and I think the local yocals would really enjoy it too.

I took a video of Andy B doing a demonstration run and found it very difficult to flag and film at the same time.


I found it equally as difficult to flag and film at the same time for my attempt at filming Martin D.


I drove for 4 hours today and flew 3 times. I had a great time and it was well worth the effort.

I had a bit of a giggle on the way home as I dropped down from the Severn Bridge into Wales. Sunny Wales wasn't so sunny and it rained nearly the whole Welsh leg of my journey. Wife said it had been raining for quite a while so I can justify quite easily the decision I made regarding not going to the local! And I don't want to hear that it was sunny and epic, from anyone!

Thursday, 6 November 2014

My new TARANISmitter!

Just before I took a break from gliding, I was in the process of getting a new Transmitter and had organised to buy a secondhand Futaba 8FG. 

I cancelled the purchase when my break started and now that I am back gliding again I picked up where I left off and started the search for a secondhand 8FG.

My search led me to find out about the Taranis Plus by FrSky. I already used FrSky gear as modules and receivers with my Futaba radio and had 100% confidence in the 2.4 system used and the more I read about the capabilities of the Taranis, the more I new it was the radio for me. The Fact that the cost of a new one was going to be around the same as a 2nd hand radio or less was the clincher for me and I purchased one from Rich at T9 Hobbysports.




I knew the programming was a 'bit' more in-depth than what I was used to with the Futaba gear I had used so I downloaded the companion software to have a play with while I waited for my Taranis to arrive.

I found some exceptionally helpful individuals while learning how to use the Taranis. 

Mike Shellim has embraced the Taranis and coming from a Multiplex background, has developed an EEPROM (information packet or data file) and user guide aimed at glider guiders especially those interested in F3F. He has lots of very useful info on his website and it's links. 

R.Scott-Page has a heap of youtube vids that I found very helpful especially his newer ones that focus on Companion 2.0 and the Taranis plus.

I have only recently discovered the OpenTX University. it's where you can learn all about your TX from the very helpful 'open source' community. For those that don't know, the Taranis runs an Open Source firmware called OpenTX for incredible diversity, adjustability and the distinct possibility to bamboozle yourself!

I have used Mikes EEPROM and setup information as the basis for my racing glider setups with my Taranis and have modified the setup for my Wasabi too. All that is now stored safely as a back up on my laptop!!

Anyway, the initial comprehension of the system takes a bit to get used to but if you just remember...
Sources (Switches, potentiometers, sticks gyros, gps, logical switches......) place an input (rudder, Elevator, Aileron{ the control, not the surface}), via mixers (elevator with aileron when flight mode 2 active, etc) into the servos (Control surfaces assigned to whichever receiver slot you like) via the receiver.

You can set up a basic model quite easily once you understand the pathway. More complicated setups like the one Mike designed, would take some thinking, tinkering and experience (that's why I am more than happy to use Mike's!!!)


I am testing out the Taranis on Saturday in my first F3F comp for ages. I'm flying in the Midlands Winter League as I am going to miss the Welsh one the following week due to work getting in the way again. A bit of a baptism of fire, but the fact that the setup allows me to change some key functions in flight and easily should help me to get the plane screaming pretty easily. The main issue for me is going to be nervous thumbs!!

Wish me luck! Looking forward to seeing some glider guider mates again!!



Saturday, 1 November 2014

First Flight since last time!

Well.......... It was a bit blowy today :excl: 

It was awesome to catch up with Andrzej for a few hours.

I flew! It was fun.

The wind was strong enough that I was able to land on the top of the slope just a few feet back from the lip (we were flying on the mill pond slope to the north of Mickeys proper). It really was a nice landing with possibly a little too much downward momentum. That pressure reminded me that I had performed a temporary, slopeside repair to the fuz in front of the wings last time I flew. The solitary piece of sticky tape was no match for the ground and the skorp's nose was a perfect replica of Mike Tindall's. 

Andrzej had a couple of really nice flights with his Ascot but the conditions were a bit hairy for practicing effective use of the compression, especially after a bit of a lay-off. So it was just a bit of a play around.

A bloke from Guildford (I've got a memory like a sieve!!) rocked up about lunchtime and flew his Willow and Dorado. The Dorado is NOT a DODO! Seemed to fly really nicely.

So this afternoon and evening I've been doing some cutting, grinding and fibreglassing :blush: . Sanding, filling and painting to come later in the week!

I also had forgotten how cold it can get on the slopes. Now that I am minus nearly 30kgs of insulation, a couple of layers, no beany and no thermals were woefully inadequate! Need to harden up!

I didn't use my new Taranis today. I am still setting it up with the Wasabi at the moment. Looking forward to using it though. Especially for setting up the Skorp. I was going to do some adjustments  today, hence the landing, but didn't get to launch again to test them. Adjusting in the air will be awesome!

It's great to be back on the Slopes! I've missed it quite a bit (would have been nicer to have returned at the start of Summer though!!!!).

See you soon!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

I'm Back!!

I got a bit tooooo addicted to golf over the last couple of years and was recently resenting time spent with my beautiful family as I felt I needed to spend every available spare minute trying to get better at golf.

That realisation (brought around by a doozie of a barny) led me to stopping golf instantly. 


Now I am free to get totally addicted to slopesoaring again!!!!



Hopefully I can get out for my first session on Saturday or Sunday ....... weather permitting!


I've got so much to catch up on!