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RAFMAA Slope Comp




Due to changes in circumstances I found that I would be in the Lancaster area with a spare weekend. Therefore models were packed and bookings made in the best B&B in Garstang so as to enable some male bonded slope soaring to take place. The B&B of course being Colin’s, our respective partners immediately checked for the dates and locations of suitable craft fairs, displays and exhibitions. The things you have to endure just to be able to go model flying. Readers of the last report of the NNAWGC will be aware that our last combined outing was on the 21 Dec 11. Since then a quantity of Balsa has been grown, harvested and consumed. Both Colin and I had new models to air therefore the weekend had plenty to offer.

Saturday 03 Mar 12

A steady breeze was blowing from the West to South West which dictated a visit to Parlick in the shadow of Snape Fell. Due to the climb we rationed ourselves to three models each and set out for the top. Rain showers were also forecast but luckily the most effective part of the slope is blessed with a very well located dry stone wall which can be put to use as both a wind and rain break.

Upon our arrival the wind was slightly off the hill to the south so the first models in the air were the Dreamflight Weasels to test the quality of the air. The downside was that the best lift was off to the left; however it did make the landings considerably less fraught as you could land across the front face of the hill into wind. Having established that the lift was good Colin prepared his new model for test. This was his newly completed Solange* (it means Sun Angel in French. See below for further explanation) which was immaculately turned out in what is quickly becoming Colin’s trade mark colour scheme? I launched and the model pushed out into the lift without any problem. The usual test flight checks were made including the most important stall before, due to the imminent arrival of a rain shower, the Solange was brought into land. Remember that I stated that the slight cross wind made the landings less fraught. Whilst Colin made a perfectly good and safe landing he managed to find the only small rock within the landing site. Luckily the damage was very slight and superficial but due to a broken wing bolt it would have to wait for its next flight. We hunkered down and weathered the passing rain shower by having lunch and Crimbles**.

Following the rain I took my version of the Dude for a spin in order to take some flying photos. All was well until I noticed that the recent rain fall was being shed by the hill in the form of mist which was being blown up the hill. This at times completely cloaked the Dude requiring very tight low circles to be flown with the model vanishing on the far side of the circle due to the white upper surfaces. It certainly focused the concentration.

With the photographic session over the Weasels were once again committed to the air. During this it was noticed that if pushed hard and close the Weasel makes a very soft sound best described as a whoosh as it passes. With experiment it was decided that the best way to carry out this effect was to climb as far as the lift would allow before diving straight towards yourself and pulling up into a half loop and roll at the last second right in front of yourself. Yes the hill was empty and remember, we were behind the wall. We continued this foolishness attempting to come closer and effect the best whoosh before deciding to stop before it all ended in tears. Due to also attempting this effect from the side we have titled these manoeuvres as the passing whoosh and full frontal whoosh. We also attempted the same with our respective Wannabes but somehow it was not the same possibly due to the extra weight, speed and potential scar tissue potential of these models. After a very full day as the rain showers could be seen gathering on the horizon we made our way home to recharge before tomorrow.
Sunday 04 Mar 12

A similar strength wind was blowing but the direction had swung around to the North West. Therefore to my relief we set off to Jeffery Hill. Why the relief? well unlike Parlick, you can drive to the top which of course means that you are not restricted to flying only those models you can carry (Fair cop I’m also a lazy git).

Once again shelter was available in the form of a large ditch/depression running along the top of the slope which enabled you to retreat from the wind and fly with a bit of comfort. To test out the air the Weasels were launched and once the lift was found to be good Colin decided to further test and stretch the flight envelope of the Solange whose repair had not encroached too much into the previous evening drinking time. Colin seemed to like the abilities of the Solange* and once I showed him the trick of using the spoilerons (ailerons mixed to rise upwards as spoilers) whilst inverted, giving the effects of flaps, and was happy with his subsequent outside loops.

I then flew the small Notus flying wing mainly because it is very fast and tends to sharpen up the reactions. Due to its size you cannot allow it to travel too far away. It also has a habit of tightening up its consecutive rolls to a mind confusing speed (the rolls are not usually the only things that tighten). The reason for the reaction check was that it was my turn to commit a new model to the air.

Now those of you who know me prepare to sit down.


The model was a Typhoon which was a moulded 2M full house glider. Tricker with a moulded model? What is the world coming to? The model was put through its paces, or as many paces that I am capable of for the next thirty minutes during which it reveals that all in all it is a very crisp, smooth flying model with a good turn of speed. With complete hindsight I of course ask myself why did I wait so long before flying this model having in fact bought it back in Aug 2010. I suppose I was bracing myself for the flack that as a committed builder I would be bound to face. Either that or learn to fly wearing a hood and dark glasses. Before committing myself to landing I positioned myself over a patch that I had previously checked for rocks and brought the model in. Due to the very effective “Crowbrakes” the model practically hovered to a landing with the flaps being retracted just prior to touchdown so as to avoid stripped servo gears. This then called for a late lunch and a Crimble** moment.


We were joined by a couple of the local flyers which enabled us to enjoy our lunches and be entertained at the same time although the speed and positioning of some of their passes had me wishing for my Control-Line Team Racing pitting helmet. Lunch over we pushed both our Dude’s for a little bit of speed and chase a game which continued until Colin noticed the approach of a very dark and broad cloud front. This required a speedy retreat and swift dismantling of the models before we were hit by heavy rain and hail which effectively signalled the end of the days activities so with regret we finished for the weekend.

Overall an exceedingly good weekend, during which we achieved all our goals, thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and went home with the same number of models that we started with. It is hoped that these NNAWGC weekend will occur more frequently building up to a maximum of six-eight a year. So if you fancy joining this merry band of old but perfectly formed nutters contact either Colin or myself for further details.

What do we have for the future? There are several ventures in the pipeline, and having just acquired a large petrol engine (another nail in the coffin of my reputation) the build of a glider tug is imminent. Colin and I also have a joint venture underway. It is quarter scale, modern and unusual and will be a whole new beginning. Watch this space for details.

Neil Tricker & Colin Waite.

*Solange. See previous “Now We Are Three” news report reference the history of this model and its subsequent development into a kit. Solange was the name of Mike Goldby’s hospice nurse. To date a total of sixty pounds has been raised from kit sales and passed onto Macmillan Cancer Trust. Kits available from cloudmodels. Kit review pending in AMI magazine.

**Crimble a coconut based snack mandatory to members of the NNAWGC on tour.


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