Thursday, 26 March 2015

Looking forward to two days flying this weekend!!!

The culmination of the frozen-fingered, snotty-nosed fun we call the F3F Winter Leagues is happening this weekend in Wales.

The Champion of Champions.

I've actually managed to qualify on merit through race results and available pilots filling the 5 available places per league! Thought I was going to have to beg!

The conditions are looking pretty epic provided we can get to some slopes with visibility.

Really can't wait. I'm so excited that I spent all last weekend painting my gliders' wings and each evening this week with T-cut to make them smooth(er than they were!) and shiny! Hope it makes a difference to their slipperiness! I ran out of green and found that I couldn't spray the 2K clear so I've done what I could with what I had. Should look OK at 50m or so!

I also replaced the V-tail half on the F3B Skorp and changed the v-tail servos on the DSL Skorp so have two angry beasts waiting to be blown around by some near cyclonic winds! I've also ordered some Tungsten Ballast to bring my all-up weight to just short of the FAI max loading of 75dm2. Unfortunately that won't be here for a month or so. I have managed to borrow some lead ballast for this weekend thanks to Dave Woods who has generously let me scab some from him. Stainless Steel is just too light!

Excited to see the other 30 blokes and see some epic flights and times!

One of the best bits of a two day comp is always the meal on the Saturday night. Look out Natraj!!

I'll let you know how it went next week!!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Welsh Winter League - Final round

I've only just recovered after a fantastic, very full, day on the Wrecker for the final round of the Welsh Winter League for this winter. It has to be said that it was a little bit chilly.

We managed to get 17 rounds flown with 12 pilots all wearing themselves out and flying two rounds for each flight with a 'crow through' to launch the second round.
We got the course up straight away and after a pilots briefing in a nervous Australian accent Ron Broughton got us underway with a 60" DS Plank which was scooting along really well.

I was a bit perplexed to have found out just before my first flight that the elevator half on the right was sticking on one of my Skorpions leaving me to try to make it through the day with only one plane, ballasted to the hilt and landing aggressively in the usual landing area over the road.
I managed to start with 2 rounds in the hallowed sub-40 bracket and was quite pleased with myself.
I nearly made it all day without damage. Nearly.... After my gentlest landing, one of the tailplane halves dislodged itself leaving me to sit in the centre for the last 4 or 5 rounds. Inactivity makes the cold SO MUCH WORSE and I was absolutely exhausted by the end of the day.
My fastest time was a 37.53 and my best flight was a 40.81 with a cut and recovery, which could have broken my personal best of 36.19 . Oh well, them's the breaks.
The ever-generous Andzej Tabero kindly offered for me to continue flying the competition with his Ceres, but I declined as I've already broken at least one of his planes in the past! It was awesome to see Andrzej competing again after some health issues and it was great to see a smile on his dial! He did try to get the most value for his entry fee with some interesting flights! His best from the comp was an outstanding 38.72!

The standout pilot for me from Sunday was John Treble who managed to smash his PB with excellent flying and trot into the sub 40 club with a 38.38!! Well done John!!

Simon Thornton, Joel West and Martin Newnham were all on top form all day and every flight was exciting to watch and the times being delivered were astounding! Martin's fastest time, flying a Freestyler, was 32.41 with nearly every flight a sub 40 and the majority around 35 seconds!

Joels fastest time, also with a Freestyler, was an awe-inspiring 31.60 with every single round below 40 seconds leading to a very narrow victory over Simon Thornton. Simon flew flawlessly all day and just missed the fastest time of the competition with his Shinto screaming around the course in 31.63 seconds leaving Joel with the fastest time by 0.03 seconds!

Huge congrats to Joel for the fastest time of the day and for winning the final round of the Welsh Winter League. Had he done enough to snatch the Winter League Title from Simon Thornton and the absent Greg Dakin? I'll let you know in a bit.

It was the first experience of 'crowing through' for a few of the pilots on Sunday and I saw some interesting versions of eye level and full crow deployed!

The middle order was a hard-fought affair with Mark Abbotts, Martin Drewett, Tony Livingstone, Graeme Mahony and Andy Burgoyne finishing the day with only 700 points covering the group. Mark managed to fly his SRTL for a couple of rounds and scored a couple of sub 40's with it, then reverted to his Caldera's as the juices were flowing and he wanted to go faster. He managed to win one of the rounds and his best time was 32.23! 

Graeme Mahoney had an outstanding day and was next in the middle order (5th). He decided half way through the comp that he would learn to do reversals and flew them amazingly well! His best time was 35.39 and he also won a round!

Tony Livingstone found a style that worked for him that I'd like to call a Flat EM style, although others might call it bank'n'yank'! It did work really well and yielded his fastest time of the comp with a 35.65.

Andy Burgoyne had the dubious honour of flying directly after me. Unfortunately this meant he flew in the rain quite a few times but he flew the wings off his Radical (not literally!) and his fastest time of the comp was a very respectable 37.64

Hats off to everyone. The day was a great success and wouldn't have run so well without all the help we received. Special thanks to Andrzej for running the competition with me and to Graeme for being Buzzer Supremo and collecting the fees. Thanks also to Ron Broughton for tirelessly sitting on Base B for the majority of the day after packing his model away after 4 rounds. Everyone helped to carry, erect and dismantle the course so thank you all.

So........ who won the prestigious title of Welsh Winter League Champion for this year?

A huge, full blooded, heartfelt congratulations to Simon Thornton for fending off Joel West and Greg Dakin for the title! It was incredibly tight in the end with what is commonly known in my homeland as a 'Poofteenth' between the places!

I was too cold to take any pictures, although Andrzej has taken some and written an excellent report on Welsh F3F. Well worth a look!

Roll on the Ken Philips Trophy and the BMFA Summer League!!

Tornados at Skipsoaring!!

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Brilliant video!!! Hypnosis on the Crest a few years ago

Mike Young and Shane Biddlecombe were synonymous with the Bwlch for quite a while and this vid is, in my opinion, their best. Being a bit old (technologically speaking) the picture quality isn't what you might be used to now, but the footage is outstanding!

Actually, most of Mike's videos are well worth the effort to watch! Check out his channel.

I'm not sure if Mike and Shane will get the glider bug again. I sure hope so, I'd love to fly with them again!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Welsh Winter League Round 4. Feb 2015

That was an interesting day!
On arrival at the Bwlch 12 of us were greeted by departing clag and a breeze that would have worked on the Wrecker. It was starting to swing south as the forecasts had predicted so we made the decision to move to the Crest as this should give us the best chance for getting the most rounds in. It is the longest walk at the Bwlch, made even longer by going all the way around to the SE slope after stopping at the usual spot to watch the wind cease to blow, which was a little disheartening.

The weather couldn’t make up its mind and after a false start was spoiled by low cloud we were treated to some epic sports flying Dakin style and I had a bit of a play under the fluffy ceiling too.

Tony Livingstone got us back under way with a cracking, round winning, 44.45. Tony wasn’t overly pleased at being first off today (no-one ever is, strangely!), but I’m sure a round win in the first round made it feel a little better. After a superhuman effort to come over from Switzerland for todays comp, Stefan Bertschi found himself planeless after suffering some control issues resulting in a heavy landing. He was to sit in the middle for rounds 2, 3 and 4.

Round 2 had the best conditions of the day with Simon Thornton taking the win and fastest time with a rapid 38.06. I also got my fastest time of the comp in round 2 with a blistering 49.15 and my only sub 50. Not my best day, more work required.

Tony smashed everyone in rounds 3 and 4 taking the fastest times for both but the chasing pack wasn’t ready to give up. Simon was still hot on his heels and Martin Newnham is never too far away. Greg Dakin and Graeme Mahoney were also well and truly in the mix too.

The wind started to properly die during round 5. That didn’t stop Graeme from taking the first of his round wins. Les Wood was starting to come to terms with the Crest after a nervy start and Stefan had managed to organise a ‘time share’ wing joiner to replace the Radical one he had left in the warmth of his humble home. I’m sure there is a massive thankyou to Andy Burgoyne for the loan and a collective sigh of relief that it took 3 rounds to organise as he was never too far away from the fastest time of each round.

Round 6 was horrible. Ian Mason  and Les suffered the brunt of the cruddy air with scarily slow runs that unfairly stayed legal with regards to wind speed and we had a short break after Ian’s flight to let the breeze regroup before completing the round and letting Graeme take his second round win.

Andy Burgoyne finally got some decent air under the wings of his glider and posted a very respectable time that was pipped at the post by Martin Newnham with the round win a Graeme with second in the round. I flew straight after Andy and got the post thermic, dead air for yet another slowest time that was nearly 30 seconds slower than the fastest.

Stefan took the 8th round and did some grounds keeping along the way with a trouser-browning moment removing some grass from the slope edge! Made me giggle like a nervous schoolkid! John Treble had his best round with a very well flown 48.27 and his fastest of the day, getting right in the midst of the usual suspects and leading pack.

The penultimate round saw Stuart Wallace take the cake with a brilliant 48.48, a miserly 2 tenths ahead of Martin with Simon in third and the conditions were starting to deteriorate somewhat. The final round saw the conditions fall to almost nothing by the end and 12 grateful pilots called it a day after Les had his best round result with 3rd and Martin took another round win.

Massive thank you to everyone that helped to get the competition to run smoothly, especially those that helped with the course carriage and er… ere….. erec…. Putting up and down, everyone for buzzing more than their fair share, Stu for taxing everyone and to Martin and Stefan for helping out in the centre.

Huge CONGRATULATIONS to Simon Thornton for the narrowest of wins over Martin Newnham and Graeme Mahoney. A very deserving top three. 

Full results below: (spreadsheet available on GBSRA website)

Simon Thornton 8535.94
Martin Newnham 8492.64
Graeme Mahoney 8470.73
Greg Dakin 8207.83
Stuart Wallace 7899.10
John Treble 7568.22
Andy Burgoyne 7563.51
Ian Mason 7510.26
Les Wood 7240.14
Clayton Landells 7073.16
Stefan Bertschi 6510.46
Tony Livingstone 6318.47

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Wrecker to myself!

The forecast was looking excellent during the week for a brilliant day of practice and sports flying for Saturday on the Wrecker. Clear skies, 15mph wind smack-on NE and a beautiful 0 to 2 degrees Celsius/Centigrade (bbbrrrrr).
I let people know via the BARCS forum that I'd be there with the F3F course that anyone could join me for a sports fly and possibly have a practice session. The idea of the course on the slope may have kept everyone away because I was forced to endure a full day flying by myself!

The wrecker works quite well in a NNE, which was what I was provided with, instead of the NE.
The VR slope also worked pretty well and I used them both, seeing as I had the space.

The clear skies didn't really appear straight away either.

Full ballast was the order of the day to start with and the F3B Skorp was ripping around. A modified reversal turn (I think i'll call it the Inverse Reversal!) was working the best for me and I couldn't get a good rhythm for any decent EM type turns.
I spent ages playing with differential and snapflap and then popped the brakes on as a precursor to landing......... bloody thing nearly looped and even full down elevator only just held it level. A bit of practice putting full down elevator just before flapping it up and I was able to control the unruly beasty and get it safely back to the deck.

The DSL had been given a healthy dose of reflex during the week and was a totally different plane to fly, she is no longer the ugly stepsister. Even though the need for ballast was gone as the wind had all but died, the DSL really surprised me and I think it flies really well even without snapflap (accidental discovery after a crow-through!).

As the wind died down, the sun came out and the afternoon session was just a real pleasure to be up on the Bwlch.

Next Sunday is the 4th round of the Welsh Winter League F3F and I'm really looking forward to it. I hope the conditions are epic................. actually just flyable would also be nice!!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Venturing into business

I have decided to start selling glider related RC bits and bobs.
Skipsoaring is the trading name and at the moment I am using Facebook as the platform.

I am selling KST servos and PracticalRC magnetic switches to start with and am working on expanding my product line.

Check out the Skipsoaring facebook page and feel free to let me know what you think. Contact Skipsoaring at

Our Website will be at although online shopping won't be available just yet.