10 August, 2017

Summer at last?

Lovely and warm down at Ashcroft Airfield, took the helicopter for a little spin.

19 March, 2017

So That's Why The Engine Stopped

The engine in my long serving Irvine Tutor 40 model aeroplane stopped abruptly the other day. Fortunately I was flying at a reasonable altitude and was easily able to make a deadstick landing on the airstrip.

Gently turning the engine by hand a little soon came up against very hard resistance so there was no more to be done at the field. I have more been able to strip the SC 46 engine down and it didn't look good. A small piece of metal on top of the piston was the first find and was another clear sign that the damage was likely to be significant. When I removed the back plate matters got worse as it revealed a mangled strip of metal and then I removed the piston liner which was scored, as was the piston. Next the crankshaft was removed and that was finely scored in the area between the bearings, ah yes the bearings, y these are two ball races, one at the front of the engine and one further back. The front bearing was fine but as soon as I started to remove the rear bearings the while lot just feel apart. Yes, the ball bearing retainers had disintegrated causing the previously mentioned damage. Well that's the end of that engine!

14 January, 2017

Up on the cloud

I have just been out for a fine afternoon on Bosley Cloud, suitabley wrapped up for the cold conditions I was able to enjoy flying the Fusion and Wicked Wing in a decent breeze. The lift was smooth and very good.

My friend Martyn came along too and some other L&MMGA members were already there, so there were plenty of models in the air.

29 December, 2016

Winter Colours

We ventured out for a walk today along the Trent and Mersey Canal. It was one of those days when the frost seems to have cleaned and cleared the air leaving clear blue sky with deep rich colours below.

The shadow areas were cold and the ground in these areas was frozen solid with frost on the top. There was very little wind so we didn't feel the cold too much at first and we enjoyed the glorious views.

All too soon the light started to fade as the lowering sun produced more shadows and the cold in the air felt sharper in our throats. We made our way to the River Dane and along the Croxton Trail back into Middlewich just in time for the last of the sun. Just the right time to head home, for tea and crumpets too.

04 October, 2016

Long Term Snappers

A few months ago I learned that some other ex-Expert Patient Tutors had kept in touch with each other and formed a small photo club, to which they invited me to join and I was really pleased to do so. They meet at a different venue each month, have a bite to eat and if the location and weather is suitable, nip out to take some photos.

They have been keen to organise a photo day out and in particular on a narrowboat, right up my street but not my canal! This time it was the Macclesfield Canal which I hadn't been on before. So last week we hired a day boat from Heritage Narrowboats at Scholar Green and headed off towards Bosley Locks. There was no intention to get as far as Bosley as they idea was to be able to stop and start at photo locations as and when anyone saw an opportunity, which is what we did. However we did get as far as the last but one winding hole (turning point) before Bosley locks, a distance of 6.25 miles from where we started. An occasional stop for a cup of tea and a picnic were also necessary parts of the trip after all we were out to enjoy ourselves.

Oh the weather, well dry, so that was good. Not cold for most of the day, though we were feeling the chill a bit towards the end and there were also some occasional sunny spells. With trees lining both sides of the canal most of the time the contrast between bright and shadow made getting some photos really quite tricky but we all snapped away and will be posting our efforts to our own private web site.

We all got along well sharing brewing, steering and keeping things tidy so thanks to my fellow crew members for that. Would we do it again, don't see why not!

22 September, 2016

Extra, Extra

More Support Artist work via Boss Casting has been coming my way. Since none these have been broadcast yet I can't say too much and don't even know if I'm visible in any of them. Still keep your eyes open if you see a Tarmac advert or television dramas Tina & Bobby (ITV) or Witness for the Prosecution (BBC), I might be there!

28 August, 2016

Feeling The Heat

Chucked most of these off the slope... the models that is,
the gaucanos aren't very aerodynamic.
I visited a site I haven't been to for quite a while on 23/08/16. This was Edge Top near Hollinsclough and I don't think I've been back there since the mixed events of my 2014 visit. No great dramas this time though it wasn't as trouble free as I would have liked.

The main problem was the wind, well lack of it and unfortunately not blowing straight onto the slope as forecast. There were several other flyers there too and that had already found it difficult to get any any lift. I tried the Wicked Wing and I too found the lift insufficient so I did what I always do - sat down and ate my picnic, which was very enjoyable in the hot sunshine. By the time I finished the wind had picked up a  little and moved onto the slope some more. Helped by some thermal activity this changed things and the Wicked Wing was away, until the lift went again whilst I was flying. I had tried to keep reasonably high in case that happened but I turned towards the landing zone to tightly, lost the airflow and stalled into a spin. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, just counter the spin, level out and rise on the lift again; the latter element wasn't there though so it continued downwards and out of site due to the slope seepening lower down. I just had to land it blind as best I could. As far as I could tell it had landed near a farm track and as the slope was rough and steep I decided to go in the car. I stopped near to where I thought it might be, looked up at the slope and seeing the steepness of the it and all the bushes reckoned I was still in for a hard time climbing and locating the model. I got out of the car not releshing the job ahead then to my surprise, no more than 25 yards away, just off the road was the Wicked Wind in amongst some gorse no worse for wear.

Motor off, the Blanik Soared well.
By the time I arrived back at the flying field the wind had picked up some more and I sent the Wicked Wing off on several more flights, the last few being able reach good altitudes and so I decided to try the SAS Fusion. Sure enough the Fusion was happy so some faster and more aerobatic flights followed. I also had the Blanik L13 with me, it's a foamie with a propeller on the front that I've flown and thermalled from a flat field before but hadn't slope soared. I decided that the motor would keep it out of tyroubel but I would try not to use it after launching and even then with  just a little power to assist with the launch. Oops, I launched it and it just didn't make any headway into the wind then dived down the slope. Hmm ended using that motor to get out of trouble sooner than I thought! Anyway I'm happy to be able to report that it flew well, at times too well and it didn't want to descend though moving the flaps up rather than down fixed. I was hoping to fly the SI Secret Weapon too but I ran out of time and the day's flying ended with everything happily in one peace.

The next day was a strange day weatherwise, hot and sunny giving way to grey and quite breezy which made flying a couple of little models quite interesting. I tried the Vampire with a larger capacity battery, therefore heavier. It flew very nicely and gave me a flight time of around 8 minutes. The GWS Tiger Moth bounced about all over the place and at times in reverse! Still it survived the day.

I still have a lot of catching up to do this year and Autumn is almost upon us, yipes another year is rolling on.

26 August, 2016

The Suitcase Dwellers and Rob Poole

My friend Pete and I haven't seen much of each other this year so when he invited me over to his place at Afonwen for a barbecue I immediately accepted. Great he said, The Suitcase Dwellers (TSD) will be there. I'd never heard of them so Google soon appeared on my screen. Turns out they've been around for a couple of years and Pete had seen them performing at a local pub, got chatting to them and ended up inviting them to play in his barn at the forthcoming BBQ.

Along came the day of the BBQ and it was a wet one, just what you wouldn't want for a BBQ. Fortunately it wasn't what we got as by evening it started to dry up and there were a few sunny breaks to dry the ground and take off the chill too. After getting fixed up with a glass of party fuel I went off to the barn where TSD were setting up and so was guitarist, Rob Poole. Hay bales to sit on and colourful lighting set the barn off nicely and after catching up with some of Pete's family I went off to see how he was doing with the BBQ. Pete had got things well under way with his self built double BBQ but with around 30 people to cater for her was struggling to keep up with demand, no problem, jacket off, I was soon giving him a hand; I actually can BBQ!

Performance time arrived so it was time to head back to the barn just in time to catch TSD start their set. A very talented duo they are with a style all of their own which I really liked. You can get an idea of their sound from the video clips I made and include in this post. Rob Poole is featured too, he has a fantastic bluesy style combined with a suitably gravely voice. On their own and together the two acts were brilliant and created a wonderful atmosphere for the evening.


Rob Poole
  • Rob Poole is a top-class guitarist based in the Dee Delta of North East Wales and West Cheshire. He revisits songs from the great blues cannon and he plays driving, gritty blues and haunting songs of regret with equal conviction. He has a huge repertoire and, in the great blues tradition, he can keep going all night. He has a well-deserved reputation for being unfailingly entertaining.
  • Website http://robguitarpoole.co.uk/

    05 August, 2016

    Pott Shrigley Walk

    This walk near to Lyme Park rises to 410 metres allowing views over Cheshire, Manchester and the Peak District.

    It was a little windy but not cold, so quite comfortable walking weather. There was rain around us at times however we only had to deal with one pretty short and light shower.

    We finished off with a visit to Shrigley Hall where we used a Groupon voucher for afternoon tea.

    All in all, a good day out.

    31 July, 2016

    A Nice Calm Summer Evening

    A video I made a couple of weeks ago one evening at Ashcroft Airfield. Having flown my 'proper' models I committed my old GWS Tiger Moth to the air.

    A fairly calm evening settled down to flat calm. The hot air balloons in the distance went up and down but didn't appear to make any movement over the the ground. I'd been flying various models all day and this was just a nice way to finish off as the sun started to set. The sunshine on various parts of the field made for bumps of rising air, particularly noticable when passing from the rough grass to over the airstrip. This Tiger Moth is an indoor model but if the bounces and breezes are accepted it will fly in a wind up to around 8mph.

    The horse flies where enjoying having me for their evening meal which was quite a distraction whilst flying such a light model, they seemed to know when I was trying to pay extra attention to landing! It will take off from shortish grass but this evening the grass was more longish, so hand launches were necessary.