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RAFMAA Slope Comp

Frost bite special

The winter months are traditionally for most modellers the time in which you turn your dreams into reality in the quest for the ultimate model, safely tucked up in your workshop from the worst that the weather can throw at you. However, following an improvement in the weather Colin and I made arrangements to venture down to the Long Mynd to partake in some badly needed soaring and if the opportunity presented itself to test fly a couple of new models.

The advantage of stupidity over intelligence is that stupidity has no limits. Despite the weather being forecast for being “wintery” we travelled down to Church Stretton with our partners for the weekend of 23-24 Feb 13 and discovered, that for once the weather men had got it right. Whilst our partners took advantage of the central heating available in the local retail outlets on the Saturday, Colin and I initially headed for Darnford due to the Northerly wind. The drive there was interesting due to the presence of large patches of ice, luckily not on the steep bits of the road. At Darnford, a brief foray with the Weasels was enough to illustrate that the wind was too much to the East requiring a move to the Slope overlooking the reservoir. At the new venue, we were able to park very close to the slope and effectively flew from the cars which allowed us some comfort and shelter. The air temperature was minus 2C with the wind chill knocking it down to about minus 5C.

The Weasels established that whilst the lift wasn’t great, it was certainly flyable. Despite the chill it was noticed that thermals were present enabling us to gain occasional great height to partake in some tomfoolery on the way down. Colin had two models that he wished to test fly namely his Genesis 2 and a new flying wing which we think will eventually be named Sharky. As the lift was hit and miss some of the time, it was a wise decision to leave the Genesis 2 for another day. However, Colin decided that he would test fly his other new model. With camera at the ready Colin hurled Sharky into the ether for a productive flight.

Having diagnosed a potential CoG issue, a landing wa made for additional nose weight, which seemed to cure the slight tendency to wander in the vertical plane. What was very noticeable was that it was a “bit of a moaner”…. A sound reminiscent of moan rather than a whoosh as it passed by due we think, to a slight gap in the wing to fuselage join. This model appears to have some promise and once fully fettled Colin will be making a mould for the fuselage; so start placing your orders now. I’ve got mine ordered already!

The wind and temperature remained at a low level for the whole day. I was unable to launch my Mini-Milan as a wing servo choose this moment to die so was committed to just flying the
Weasel, nevertheless when we packed up almost two hours was showing on the Tx.

Overnight it snowed. On the Sunday we were greeted by the road closure of the Burway (main route to the top of the Long Mynd) by snow. So we thought to try the N, NE slope of Darnford again and if not suitable to sneak around the back of the hill and see if the road was open. At Darnford the wind direction seemed OK so up to the top with a couple of Weasels and Sharky. The lift seemed sufficient but was slightly marginal for the Sharky. Whilst we were both flying, a large and low grey patch in the sky approached us and proceeded to dump snow upon our well covered heads. After the snow shower passed the wind eased and moved slightly to the East so once again off to the reservoir slope. The back road was open and within a short while, I was able to launch only to discover that the lift was not working. A short walk enabled me to warm up somewhat comforted by the fact that Colin’s model also landed out indicating that the conditions and not crap flying was to blame. I did manage a few quick flights but the Gods were certainly against us so with the weather forecast predicting much the same and the fact that it was particularly cold, we retreated bravely and joined our partners for lunch.

What did we achieve? We managed a fair bit of air time, blew the balsa dust out of our hair and obtained modelling satisfaction. There is never bad weather just inappropriate clothing. However, some thought was given to opening a new chapter of the Ninety Nine Acre Wood Gliding Club, namely the Viagra chapter - as to fly in very low temperatures, you need to be “well hard”

Did we learn anything? Yes, everybody should possess a Weasel as I consider it to be one of the best value for money models (after the Wannabe of course) that you can buy. Also, any money spent obtaining a “Transmitter muff” is never waste; without ours, we certainly would not have lasted the day.


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