A return to model building and flying. Part 52

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July 2008

From nothing last month to a lot this one!

Festival of Flight

Well, after a long spell  of inactivity I finally got some flying done. I was persuaded to go the BMFA midlands area Festival of Flight, by a phone call from Andy Housden; after all Barkston Heath is not too far away from me.

The weather was remarkable for Barkston, well know for it's somewhat predictable weather pattern: WINDY! It turned out hot and humid, with what little breeze there was dropping in the afternoon. The Midland Area Festival of Flight is like a mini one day UK Nat's without the crowds and commercial aspect. It certainly doesn't suffer for that, as everyone that is there, are either competitors of interested in competition. Only problem I found was a lack of toilet facilities, there seemed to be only one, near the entrance, and not where it was shown on the map, so I missed it first time round. Not being equipped with a male member to point at a convenient hedge, means finding somewhere to squat can sometimes be a somewhat drawn out process :(


The outcome of my flights was a bit predictable having had no practice at hurling a model at a carrier deck since last year, from a locked up hook on the first flight, not judging distances properly, having the lines damaged, to running out of fuel before I could rescue an overshoot landing. Thanks to everyone being allowed 4 flights, I managed to get the last one together enough for a fifth place out of seven entries. The day as a whole though, made up for the sense of frustration. I really must build a decent carrier model without the many vices of the Hellcat; but with four unfinished models lying around, starting another one would be suicide, none would get finished.

pulse jet

During a midday wander down to the speed circles, I tried to photograph a pulse jet being started. It dawned on me at the last moment that at close proximity, this was bound to be a somewhat noisy experience, and my ear plugs were in my handbag back in the car..! Well I can take it; I'm brave, or stupid depending on you point of view. The resulting shock wave, left me feeling like I had been punched in the ears and was suffering with concussion. How sailors coped with firing cannon in years gone by I can only wonder? Mercifully this is only for a few seconds, and I have suffered worse photographing bands standing in front of bass speaker stacks, when I would ended up getting tinnitus that lasted until the next day; hence the habit of always carrying earplugs with me. They are also good for interminably long trips on public transport surrounded by screaming hyperactive uncontrolled children too; the sort that should have been strangled at birth along with the parents, and the afterbirth kept and nurtured instead. I love children; but I couldn't eat a whole one... :)


Back at the carrier circle we spent some time examining a Great planes ARTF 'Corsair', that had been converted for carrier use. apparently with great ease; the only big mod being fitting an undercarriage. Also converted to two line electronic signalling, using an old RC outfit. Apparently old SANWA kit is good for this, as it has large discreet components that are easy to access and solder onto. Lot of food for thought, and very tempting. BUT! I must be strong and not give into temptation until some of these other models are finished: as if I would! LOL

vintage speed

stunt lineup


Now having to replace a damaged line, it might be worth showing the performance I have to go through to make them up to length.

Please excuse the appalling state of decoration in my flat, a result of me hating decorating, having no money, and no physical strength to move furniture about to get at walls and floors; when you live in a confined space there is just nowhere to move things to. None of this has been helped by living with a succession of partners that just fill up my space with junk so I can't move, causing me to loose all desire to do anything about it (got an nice clean pad in SL though. LOL). Somehow, staying sane, alive, and keeping myself clothed and fed has seemed more important. I live in my head (and now the Internet as well) anyway, so it's not difficult to ignore it. C'est la vie.

file:///home/zoe/Model/web/zoe/images/return/lines00_1.jpg file:///home/zoe/Model/web/zoe/images/return/lines01_1.jpg

file:///home/zoe/Model/web/zoe/images/return/lines03_1.jpg file:///home/zoe/Model/web/zoe/images/return/lines05_1.jpg

The are three phases to my line making process, (1) get the length approximately right (as per pic's), (2) make up one set of ends, (3) go to the field and measure the exact length, then make up the remaining ends, marking them to match my colour coding on the existing made up ends, (4) at home make up all ends to a finished state and dip in the appropriate colour paint for identification and weather proofing. As you can see, not straightforward, but I have never had an line end failure, and my lines last a long time, one pair I was surprised to work out, about 35 years and still in regular use. I always use stainless multi strand, the ends are sleeved in either aluminium or brass tube: bound with copper wire or fuse wire (easier to handle), or thread; wound with tissue paper strip impregnated with glue, anything from Balsa Cement to UHU Glue (preferably something that doesn't dry hard like epoxy or cyano'), the tissue is wound past the end of the binding to spread out where the load is greatest at the change in section.

It should be easy to substiture heat shrink tubing for thre paper/glue wrapping, but I always forget to thread the sleeving on before binding the lines. Stupid woman!

Glow Plugs

I received another email from Charlie Stone in West Australia, more of Charlie's excellent high quality work can be seen on the Friends Pictures page. My jaw just drops at what Charlie gets up to.

Just a quick note to say hello and show you one of the things that I have been up to of late.  I am currently playing about with a fairly vintage engine.  It is a Westbury Kestrel .29 that was made in 1937.  I have plans to put it in the air, but as it was built as a boat motor it had a flywheel rather than a prop driver, so I have yet to make the prop driver and a new set of rings for it.  The prop driver design has a 5/8th inch diameter hub, so I will also have to do something about making a prop that can stand having a giant hole through the hub.  The engine was built as a spark ignition engine for 3/8" spark plugs, but I want to run it as a glow motor.  The difficulty with that is due to the head thickness (I don't want to modify the head) I can't use an adapter to fit standard glowplugs so I have had to make some 3/8" glow plugs (photos attached).  I believe that in the early days you could actually buy these, but sadly not any longer so it is up to gadgeteers like me to do it at home. 

I seem to have lost part of the text about the use of a re-wound mains transformer, but when I enquired how Charlie had spot welded the element in place he replied thus,

It works as planned and sticks the wire into place.   I have made a few normal sized plugs and re-elemented some commercial ones already.  It wasn't done for any commercial purpose, but because a self styled expert told me that it couldn't be done.

Nice one Charlie :)


Broadband Speed

Regarding the Internet I mentioned above, this may be of interest, and, or, amusement to anyone with a broadband connexion. The following is an email I sent to Virgin Media, as comment on their service.

Also during the conversation quoted below, I had the double annoyance of being called 'Sir' every other sentence I know I don't have a particularly feminine voice  on the telephone, and it gets worse when I get angry, but the person on the other end is reading a script, with my title on it, so should get it right. Even when pulled up about it, the said person carried on calling me 'Sir' . I have even heard the same thing in supermarkets and shops said to other women, and it is not very complimentary. AND neither is being called 'Mate!', when I am standing naked on the doorstep, dripping wet, struggling to cover my boobs and what little dignity I have left with a towel that's not big enough, having been dragged out of a bath by some idiot trying to sell something.  AND you can stick whatever it is the you are selling where the sun don't shine, MATE!

HUMMPH! Well now you know.


You ask for comments, and I have two: first Praise.

I recently upgraded my 2Mbs cable broadband connexion from 2Mbs to 4Mbs. Over a couple of months I monitored the speed and found it to be woefully slow, averaging around 2MbS. Two things happened then.

The last was was a visit from a technician to test the line. The appointment was on time and he was efficient and patient, finally tracing the problem down to the modem, which was replaced. Not only was I very happy with the outcome, but he actually knew his way around my LINUX system and KDE DESKTOP with no assistance from me. Apart from leaving me a little stunned, this deserves high praise, and is something you should encourage.

The other matter I find equally serious but in a very negative light. Your BROADBAND HELP LINE has always been an excruciating pain to deal with.

I am almost always answered by someone speaking with an ASIAN ACCENT so thick that I can barely make out what they are saying. For a 'communications' company this is absurd, and very frustrating for me, especially when combined with the next point I will mention. Surely it is possible to screen call-centre workers for clear enunciation and speech, whatever their nationality of origin. Accents are not a problem, THICK ACCENTS are! And why can't we have some Eastern European accents, Chinese, or whatever, for a change; or is the company owned by the Indian Government?

As if the above was not bad enough, being treated as leper because I use LINUX is insulting. LINUX users are not stupid, or dumb, and know more about PC systems and networks than most: out of necessity! We also know that you do not support it; although quite why this is I have never managed to fathom, as in truth you only support up to and including the modem; and that by it's nature, should exclude MS Windows? So you could save some money there ;)

I am fed up with conversations that follow these lines, all the time with me tying to understand what the person on the other end is actually saying.

'Open up Internet Explorer'
[me]'I don't use it' (and neither do any sensible Windows users)
'you use MAC then'
[me]'No, I use LINUX'
'Oh we don't support Linux'
[me]'I know that, I just want you to test up to the modem, I'm am getting slow connexion speeds'
'We don't support Linux'
[me]'I know that, I'm not asking you to'
'We can't help you'
[me]'Just test the (suppressed thought!) Line please'
'Can you open a web browser' (at last a sensible suggestion)
'Do you have any peer to peer programs'
'Oh, we can't test the line'
[me]'But it is not running'
'We can't test the line with it installed' 

'You will have to uninstall it' 
[me]'WHAT!' (****!)

[me]'Do you understand anything at all about operating systems and networks?'
There follows a heated exchange of words.
[me]'Look! (another suppressed thought) there are no applications running and no traffic.'
He tests the modem and I test the connexion speed using the on-line service recommend. And get 2.1MbS, the same as always.
[me]'2.1 and I am paying for 4'
'There is nothing wrong with your line or modem'
[me]'How come it is running persistently at half speed then.'
'There is nothing wrong with your line or modem'
[me]'It would be nice if you could get someone to look at the cabinet outside in the street, there have been problems with corroded joints in the past'
'OK I will arrange for a technician to call tomorrow'

Now ask yourself, would you like to have conversations like this when asking for help? This is not a help line, it's an assault course.

Zoe Quilter


As a result of that email I received a phone call acknowledging there was a problem with the call centres, and I was not the only one complaining, and I also received £25 of my next bill in compensation for not having the full speed for the time when I should have.

So it does pay to complain.

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