From a personal
point of view the last few months have been somewhat of a nightmare.
First we lost the use of our local flat field site, RAF Barkston Heath,
and then my slope soaring club, Sheffield Society of Aero modellers (SSA)
effectively lost the use of Callow Bank. Negotiations are currently
underway to allow future use of these sites but I think it wise not to
hold my breath too long. A particular “hobby horse” of mine has been the
fact that over the years the greater majority of clubs have had the use
of flying sites purely on the “nod” or through the goodwill of other
parties, usually at a small rent.
My belief is that
these days are over and clubs should strive to either buy or ensure the
long term use of their sites. MOD sites are becoming much harder to
obtain and those that are available usually command the payment of a
commercially equivalent rent (For that read expensive).
So with all this
doom and gloom in the vicinity what was needed was a good thrash off a
hill. Cue call to fellow member of the NNAWGC, Colin and the picking of
suitable dates to beat a path to the Lancastrian slopes of Parlick. My
good lady and I drove up from Lincolnshire on the Friday leaving as
usual about 1800hrs. This late departure was to miss the rush hour
traffic around Manchester and treat the girl to a good meal at the OK
Diner on the A1. I know how to show a lass a good time.
Saturday 26 Jul
The day dawned
bright and clear with a gentle breeze from the SSW, so with suitable
light models we set fourth for Parlick. With the morning temperatures in
the mid twenties and with a high level of humidity, shorts and tee
shirts were the order of the day. The ascent however, was a shock to my
system not having climbed up Parlick for some time. Eventually Neil “the
Sloth” (Sofaworks TV advert) arrived at the top trailing somewhat behind
Colin, the hyper active mountain goat, and after a suitable recovery
period flying commenced.
flown were Mini-Milans, Speedo, Alula, Weasel and Solange. We were
joined by a friend of Colin’s, Barry who had been enticed over to the
dark side of slope soaring when Colin gave him his old Zagi which led to
him picking up a reasonable priced Speedo as a second model.
Also on the hill
were the para-gliders who were launching from slightly above us prior to
them departing around the corner into the large North Western bowl.
the wind veered slightly to the west so we followed around to the
western slope by the Dry stone wall. Usually this wall provides shelter
from the cold wind and rain, however, it was noticeable that out of the
wind the strength of the sun was considerable which required us to stand
in front of the wall to cool down. Ye Gods........ the need to cool down
on the slope, what is the world coming to?
So with copious
amounts of sun block we three continued to fly throughout the afternoon
prior to departing at about 1730hrs so as to take the ladies for an
Italian meal out in Garstang, a perfect end to a very satisfying days
Sunday 27 Jul
The wind had
increased over Saturday’s level with slight rain in the morning, but not
to be perturbed, we hot footed off to Parlick again to the Westerly
slope by the dry stone wall.
time my climbing performance was much improved in that I almost managed
to keep up with Colin. However, in Colin’s defence it must be pointed
out that he easily managed the climb with his normal large rucksack.....
two transmitters and five models - A Midge, Wanabee, Jart, Luna and
a Weasel. ..... Me? I only had a Jart, Midge and Speedo.
arriving we were joined by another gentleman whose name shamefully
escapes me (old brain cells) (Andrew (Ed)) who had with him a
very nice Salto from the Fly Fly kit. This flew most impressively on
several occasions and also proved to be quite durable following some
less than prefect arrivals.
As Colin was
tearing up the slope with his latest Midge (15) I prepared my version of
Colin’s Midge design for its test flight. I had made a few cosmetic
changes, mainly to the wing span and plan form. I had also installed a
receiver with a three axis gyro with which I had wavered long and hard
during the installation with ensuring correct orientation and gain. I
must admit that I was very wary of the first flight as you could take
off with the gyro switched off and activate it during the flight.
However, to turning the gyro on was easy, but to turn the thing off you
had to land and switch off the receiver.
The first flight
was undertaken and the model roughly trimmed. It was found to be
slightly sensitive to the controls which following the dive to check the
C of G confirmed that the model was tail heavy.
The Midge was
landed and given some extra nose weight and relaunched. The C of G was
now much better so with thoughts of unleashing an uncontrollable monster
in the back of my mind the gyro system was activated. The result was an
absolute anti-climax. Initially it felt that an extra amount of
exponential had been dialled in as the controls felt just a bit softer
around the neutral. The big difference was that the Midge
now seemed to
ignore all the little deflections and air movements flying with a sense
of being locked on course such was the auto stabilisation
effects of the Gyro.
tried and the difference was quite marked. Hesitation rolls held their
heading much better, flick and quick axial rolls stopped exactly where
you wished. Of course I can’t use this system in an aerobatic
In the interest of
comparison and differing opinion, I asked Colin to try a flight,
initially launching with the system off and later activating it in
flight. I think that he was of the same opinion as me in that whilst it
could not fly a model by itself the gyro certainly made the model cut
through the turbulence and look like it was flying on rails. I nearly
had to prise the transmitter away from him with a crowbar, he had a big
grin on his face and mutter something like the word… “Awesome”. Once we
finished with the Midges and as the wind had increased slightly it was
time to unleash the Jarts.
for those new to our ramblings the Jart model moves…. ripping up the
slope into a different league. We enjoy them so much that we both built
a second version, hence the sticker on mine declaring that “ my other
model is a Jart “. Certainly the time we spent making a mould was not
wasted. So the flying continued thus until after a slight interlude of
Weasel mayhem and diving attacks on the dry stone wall, we retired
slightly worn and sunburnt but extremely happy.
Monday 28 Jul
A slight breeze
from the South East. As I wasn’t due back at work until Tuesday we have
broken with tradition and stayed over Sunday night. Colin being a mate
had decided that he have to act as guide and had taken a day’s holiday.
Once again the
slog up Parlick was undertaken with minimal clothing and lightweight
models, two Weasel, two Mini-Milans and an Alula. Of course the climb
was prolonged with the need to reach the South East slope.
Colin was first
away with his Mini-Milan in the very slight drift that was passing as
wind at that moment. I joined in with my Mini-Milan and made a complete
cock up of the launch tearing the tail off.
Some days you
start things that you wish you had left alone, so as Colin was having
fun and I wished to join him I carried out a repair of which I certainly
was not very proud. Bodge jobs never work and the subsequent next flight
resulted in more damage. The only solace I can take for this display of
stupidity was that now I had the opportunity to carry out the much
delayed mid-life model refit that I had been avoiding for the past two
the DLG launching technique that was possible with the Alula and its
ability to thermal upon the “excess flatulence of an earthworm” was
certainly evident. We then spent a while just throwing off the Weasels
and Alula, sometimes walking part way down the hill to retrieve and
sometimes escaping to great height in the passing thermals.
As is usual in
these testing but very rewarding conditions I pushed the envelope just a
bit too far and flew my Weasel down the hill in an attempt to find that
thermal that would elevate the model to greater heights, but the model
just flew to the point of R/C range, whereupon it disappeared from
As the Weasel
seemed to be in an area that was on the way to the car we stayed at the
top for a short while until the lack of wind and the need to meet up
with the ladies and appease them with a good lunch called an end to the
flying. Upon our descent we stayed apart and the missing Weasel was
quickly found unusually much higher up the hill than was originally
Once again a very
good few days spent flying our models in good company with the added
bonus of exceedingly good weather. In the near future the time table is
quite busy what with the forthcoming RAFMAA Main Championships and the
So until the next
adventures of the NNAWGC, keep the models in the blue and out of the