A return to model building and flying. Part 11


January 2005

Work on the Lucky Lady has been put on the back burner for a while. This team race thing is a little easier, I can get something in an airworthy condition in a relatively short time

Most of the work I put into the Stinger was exacerbated by the lack of decent available paint for finishing it. Everything is sold in spray cans these days,and I have nowhere to spray. I ended up with a paint called 'Plasticote', sold in small jars from large hardware stores. Yes the label is accurate when it says, 'Touch dry in three minutes.' In fact that is a bit on the conservative side. When the paint grabs the brush in a tight grip before you have moved the brush stroke over half the wingspan, it causes problems. It also has a strong pungent smell, almost stronger than a cellulose paint, I developed quite a loathing for this paint by the time I had finished. The model shops ubiquitous white tin with, 'Fuel Proofer' written on the label, turned out to be polyurethane varnish, and an expensive one at that, Any one that has used this kind of varnish will know that it does not dry clear, but with a slight yellow tint; this is absolutely not on for applying over a white finish. But, beggars can't be choosers, and I had a model to finish.

stinger finished

Ready to fly

The race day arrived a week earlier than I had expected, having got the date wrong. After a bit of a panic the Stinger was ready to fly. Apart from an annoyed feeling that my standard of model finishing was on a par with when I was young and had only built a couple of models, the only other concern was the very windy weather.

The Saturday preceding the comp day I managed to get in a couple of flights, determined not to be intimidated by the wind. In years gone by I lost a chance at competing for a place in the British team for the C/L F2B European Championships because of terrible wind and an untried model. This time round I am determined to not let the weather frighten me.

The model turned out to be a little twitchy, I had set up the controls on the coarse side as I had no idea what to expect. I reduced the sensitivity for race but in retrospect this may have been an unwise move. The tumbling over on landing was to also have a undesired effect but more of that later. The model flew, I was still standing, and the model was still in one piece, in spite of a strong wind, so I called it a day.

Race day dawned. The wind was even stronger, when you can feel the wind pushing your body about, it's strong. It would have been so easy to have not bothered to fly, but that was what I had been working towards for a month, so, on with the show.

After several extremely dodgy launches by different people, two (carefully balanced) broken props, a complete loss of line tension as the model zoomed into wind after another launch, which resulted in the model driving full bore into the, mercifully soft, earth, and another broken prop, I finally managed to get to get it together. Thinking the clock was running I was determined to at least go home with with a finish. I was getting around 35 laps from the 12cc tank. not enough for a one stop 100 lap heat but I am learning. After a couple of drunken dizzy pit stops (the pilots do their own pitting) I began to forget about dizziness.

The coup de grace came when I shouted for the laps left, to which, I received the answer, "We thought you were practising." You can imaging my thoughts at that precise moment without my description.

The nature of the ground we fly on is uneven to say the least, and was managing to bend the 12 gauge piano wire undercarriage leg like a piece of putty on every landing, resulting in the model tumbling end over end, and doing wingtip cartwheels on every landing. Somehow, the model was still hanging together.

When I eventually got in a flight, I was at a point where I knew I only had a handful of laps to go to finish the heat. However Lady Luck was not smiling on me this time, the last tumble on landing broke the tail end of the fuselage off. And I was only two laps short of the finish. Bummer!


The aftermath

In spite of all this I really enjoyed myself and was impressed by the models ability to sustain a large amount of punishment. Next month I will see if the modifications and repairs have been worth while? And I can start on a larger team race model for some of the larger engines I have sitting doing nothing.

Events somewhat overtook me when my car broke down and it was stuck at the side of the road for six days (I can't afford vehicle rescue cover). At the same time my bank balance had plunged to twice as much going out as coming in to pay the avalanche of bills that hit me at this time of the year.

This caused a bit of a rethink about my whole modeling situation which is precarious to say the least. I had managed to scrape together the money to join the local club, and pay the mandatory the BMFA fee. This amounts to around £95.00 in total. An obscenely high fee for someone in my financial position. But! I need somewhere to fly, even if it does feel a little like being held to ransom.

More than one person has asked when the Lucky lady will be finished. The honest answer is that, I do not know. Building it has become a bit of an albatross around my neck. the original model was not straitforward in it's design, and my modifications have made it even more complicated. It's one of those projects that you start then wish you hadn't. It will get finished: when I get round to it!

I suddenly realised that if I loose my car, all the money I have spent will be wasted. So I need to build models quickly to get as much flying in as possible while I can and maximise my considerable investment.

I have a brand new plain bearing PAW19 that needs running in. I have never held sway to the idea of tying an engine to a stand and running lots of expensive fuel through it. Apart from getting the initial settings, I prefer to run them in, in a flying model. This prevents me getting too bored and at least I can enjoy a little flying albeit at a slower pace than normal for a while. I was contemplating putting this engine into a combat model, not because I have any ambition to be the club combat champion, but because they are extremely economical and quick to build. I can also enter it an aerobatic competition at a pinch, thus killing two birds with one stone.

Whilst looking through an old Aeromodeller Annual for something completely different, I suddenly had one of those epiphany moments. It was called, 'Danish Challenge' by John Mau and Jorn Rasmussen, and flown at the 1974 British Nats. It had such economy in it's design and construction, I could have designed it myself, I just had to build it.

My initial observations have so far been born out. What you see is about two hours work with frequent interruptions caused by trying to rescue a seriously compromised and sick computer.

It has so far consumed one and one quarter sheets of 6mm x 75mm balsa and one piece much modified moulded leading edge. Most of time was spent trying to plane the, bent like a medieval long bow, L.E. into something resembling passably strait.

combat wing

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