17 February, 2014

First proper slope of the year

I set off for The Pool because of the forecast SW wind but it turned out other flyers had already settled on flying from "The Gate", though on checking "The Pool" site a short distance down the road the wind seemed to be more full onto that slope but I was happy to go with the flow of the more experienced flyers.  I had arrived at 1.30pm and I was surprised by the number of cars present though I Iater found out some had already left as the wind had started to weaken. Anyway I found a recently vacated space in the line of cars, nipped through the gate and there I was in the pits. Not much of walk that and though there's marsh land around the flying site the pits and flight line were surprisingly firm underfoot.

SAS Fusion
Having noticed the wind speed dropping on the weather forecasts and being told I'd missed the best of the wind I quickly gave the SAS Fusion a heave out and off it went at the first attempt. I was quite pleased with that. Last time I'd flown it was about a month ago but that was into a turbulent 32/48mph wind - took several efforts to launch in entirely different conditions, prior to that it's months since I've flown a model of any description let alone chucked one of a hillside. The lift was still fairly good and I enjoyed about 15 minutes worth of experimenting with it to see how well it would hold up in loops, rolls & inverted and it was okay. So, having had my settling in flight I went back to the pits for a butty & coffee and was approached by Keith Rathbone (L&MMGA Membership Secretary) and welcomed to the club as this was the first time we'd actually met. That was nice, being newish in a club can be a bit isolating and it's good to have a welcome and a friendly handshake. A quick hello to a few others and another good  flight was embarked on. The third flight was okay but the lift had decayed somewhat and it took a couple of launches to actually get airborne and at times it was quite obvious that the fusion was not getting as much lift as before. Further evidence of the decaying lift was that the vast majority of flyers were packing up. I checked the wind speed on my mobile phone anemometer (not wholly accurate but okay for what I currently need) and that showed the wind mostly between 6 and 15mph with a very occasional gust to 23mph, not really enough for my Fusion. With most people having departed that left me free to have another flight preceded by a lot of practice at launching and landing ;o) however I did catch one of those stronger gusts and once a little altitude had been gained I was able to stay up for about ten minutes at which point I thought I'd try a lowish pass or two then rise on the same patch of lift. It worked twice, the third time was converted into a landing - the usable lift for me had gone.

Not today for the Secret Weapon
I had taken my Sail Planes International Secret Weapon sport glider with me too but neither I nor the decaying lift seemed to be in the best form to venture out with that.

That's about it. A very worthwhile trip out of about 25 miles each way, some good flying, lots of much needed practice and neither my boots nor the car was covered in mud. That's thing with this type of sloping, setting up, flying and packing up is the quickest and easiest possible, no messing about fitting batteries or starting engines, refitting fresh batteries or refuelling. Just get the model out of the car (check the battery of course) chuck it and fly as long as I like all day on the fitted NiMh pack. Then at home time chuck it in the back of car and the job's done.