A return to model building and flying. Part 49

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April 2008

B#*!@!#**#! Weather

Now at the end of March, I don't think I have ever know a wind to blow as consistently and strong as it has since Christmas time. Looking at the Met Office local weather forecasts, has shown a depressingly consistent pattern of 16 - 32 kph (10 - 20 mph) winds gusting around 48 kph (30 mph) with the occasional gale thrown in just to keep things from getting too boring. Knowing what little I know about these things, I suspect the Atlantic jet stream has settled into a different position, so how long this will last is anyone's guess.

If you don't want to read the following piece about my weather compensating adventures in Cyberspace, you can jump past it by clicking here.


aishipsFortunately I have other interests beside aeromodelling, one of them you know about, Computers. So discovering, and getting into Second Life, has wasted quiet a few hours. Not a game, more about existing in purely electronic Cyberspace, as literally, anything you care to choose, even a talking refrigerator if you were so inclined. I have loved the Sci-fi and Fantasy genres all my life, so to get even a small step into a fantastic Cyber World, 'for real', is something I can't stop myself doing. You also need a broad mind: Ooo! that's me in then! 

So far, apart from an offer of marriage (At my age..? I blush!) quickly followed by the SL viewer crashing, I don't know who was more surprised, the viewer or me; she laughed hysterically. I have seen a Victorian gentleman pedalling a bicycle slung beneath a balloon pass overhead, had a Spitfire pass underneath me on a low level sortie; yes, you can fly without the aid of a machine in SL, leaping tall buildings in a single bound; but over 500 metres things can get a bit hairy. I watched someone building an attack helicopter, and found a couple of Zeppelin's parked by a second world war outfitters, walked the back streets of H G Wells/Jules Verne Victoriana inspired old city, visited a Dragon Hatchery; and where else could I be chatted up by a Brazilian guy with his buttocks hanging out of his underpants, and then have an in-depth conversation with a Magpie a moment later. I can almost hear Neil in 'The Young Ones' saying, "It's like a really good trip Man." It's an enormous time consumer, but hey, my times my own, and we all die eventualy, so I'm going to make the most of it.

And, just as in the out-world (Goodness, I'm slipping into SL-speak already), in-world there are 'Griefers', people that think it's great fun to lock you in a cage or pelt you with some unearthly strange things or set fire to you, for no reason at all, or pester you in different ways, and even in one extreme case bring down the whole grid; but at least you can't die here, and can always log off; Unlike the real world.

If you want to know how sad it (or maybe people) can also be sometimes, try to catch a BBC program in the 'Wonderland' documentary series called, 'Virtual Adultery and Cyberspace Love'  it was broadcast on BBC2 30th January 2008. I finally managed to track down a 'torrent' of it to download (Yo! Pirate Bay). The BBC, which I pay good money to as a licence fee to produce programs amongst other things, won't even make their online downloads available to Linux users. From the BBC's website, I quote: "What if I don't run Windows, can I still download?" and the answer, "The file sharing and digital rights management (DRM) technology we use is only compatible with Windows XP and Vista." Humph! considering that almost everyone now considers DRM to be as dead as a Dodo, this is hardly a good stance to take, especially for a public service broadcaster. So they can go take a running jump when it comes to piracy. Hell! I helped finance for the damned program in the first place. But, I digress into politics.

VbinniaSecond Life seems sad and geeky I know, and you need some serious V8 open exhaust horse power (= money) in a PC, and a screaming bursting into flames broadband connection to view SL in it's full glory, it is after all, pushing the boundarys of what is possible in real time; but the SL servers are Linux, and there is even active development of a viewer that runs happily on Linux, without it I wouldn't have bothered at all; so I am a happy bouncy bunny. 

Looking at the latest incarnation of my second life self (on the left, looking sexy or what..?), I can't help but have the twisted words of the BARBIE song, put to a World Of Warcraft silly video on YouTube, keep bouncing into my mind when I'm strutting my stuff in SL, "I'm a bimbo girl In a bimbo world, both my boobs are plastic, aren't they fantastic!" it's here Not Quite Barbie , IF! you're broad-minded that is, and, have a sense of humour. 

So, Ho Hum, the weather hasn't mattered all that much. 

There now follows a public health warning: Don't blame me if you try out this world and get hooked. "Snot my fault, never not no how. Never never never, so there!" :-D


What, is very annoying though, is the lack of inspiration to build models. The, fly in the summer and build in the winter myth, is just that, a myth. In winter we find other things to do, or in my case they can be forced upon us; over the last couple of years I have had more than my fair share of upsets. I find that I need to fly and be out there, to get the inspiration to build. Cold wet and windy, is not my favorite weather environment to stand around in, let alone fly.

However all is not quite lost, I have made some slow progress with the Weathermen.

weathermen

These models will be a bit of a test ground for a lot of things, but more of that as we progress. At this point I decided to make some Mylar hinges from floppy-disk material. I can't claim originality for this idea, it is quite old and has been used on TR models in the past. They a quick to fit, just roughed up with abrasive paper and secured with thin cyano, almost invisible, and should be almost unbreakable. They are also a lot thinner than the commercial Mylar hinges which are always much too stiff. They are still stiffer than I would like, but I am not sure how far I can reduce the width and still have them stay attached; other than by empirical testing in the real world.

weatherman hinges

These next pictures make me feel like I am showing my dirt underwear in public. However they do illustrate the frustration I am getting from building an unnecessarily complicated fuselage.

crutch

This picture illustrates the crutch form of construction. Not so good when trying to bend a piece of 3mm sheet round a compound curve at the rear of the fuselage. 

bearer

To get the shape to blend from a flat surface to a round one, the bearer has to be shaved with the balsa, with the inevitable result of gouging bits of wing and fuselage at the same time. NOT! a good design feature. Neither is the thread binding of the undercarriage. The undercarriage was pain in the rear to bend, and I came to hate it at one point; too many bends and a not very well thought out original way of attaching it. The thread I use is much too thick, but can't be changed now, so it will have to be covered somehow. Getting the block to fit round all the lumps and bumps, has led to the inevitable holes and mismatches. "Forget about stitching that head on!. More filler Igor.!"

profile

One fuselage is nearly complete, but I am not happy with it. It has been far too difficult and time consuming so far, and I still have to find somewhere to place the fuel tank and make a cowling.

Mumble mumble mumble.......Grrrrrrr.

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