Saturday, 23 November 2013

Humphrey Head

Tried out a new coastal slope, Humphrey Head. Was a bit of a scramble to climb up the 100ft limestone cliff, but with a Westerly gusting to 26 mph the conditions provided consistent lift. I flew my M60 rather than a mouldy for a change and it went very well with full ballast. The coastal air felt slower and 'Sticky' compared to the inland slopes I normally fly but where there were no thermals there was also no sink or turbulence. Landing was a little awkward as there is a fence and a gate that you have to climb over to get to the landing zone or you could just land at distance from the gate. You just had to watch out for a couple of bushes and some piles of rocks. With a more expensive mouldy you could always open the gate so you could pick your spot to land.

Humphrey Head from Tom Foreman on Vimeo.

Monday, 11 November 2013


Some nice video's from Rick Chen of the 2013 F3F World Cup race this year, Mr O won going very fast with his Needle 100.

Lungpan - South of the Taiwan from Rick Chen on Vimeo.

F3F WORLD Cup Taipei 2013 "Impossible speed" from Rick Chen on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Northern F3F Winter League Dates at the Hole of Horcum

Dates are up on NYMRSC for this years winter league, see you there!

Dates for 2013 / 2014
2nd Nov 2013
7th Dec 2013
4th Jan 2014
1st Feb 2014
1st Mar 2014

Reserve Dates
15th Feb 2014
15th Mar 2014
The reserve dates apply after the loss of 2 or more scheduled events.
NB 'loss' means the event was cancelled or failed to complete.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Welsh Open 2013 F3F

Well this years Welsh Open was a bit of a disappointment with only three rounds flown on the first day in very light winds and then no more flying for the other two days. What can you say, after the fantastic BMFA Nationals a few months ago in Wales I guess it was too much to expect another fantastic competition but that's F3F for you, oh well, roll on the Northern Winter League....

Welsh Open 2013 from Tom Foreman on Vimeo.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Xenon Re-maiden

Managed to grab a few hours up Parlick today to re-maiden the Xenon after I had a Hyperion aileron servo fail on me a couple of months ago. Had decided to replace both aileron servo's with trusty Futaba 3150's so had  quite a bit of work to do to remove the old servo's and then fit the new ones, but its done now.

A good North Westerly 15mph wind put me on my favourite North West bowl, I put 1200g of ballast in her and chucked her off, immediately she started going down and she needed a fair amount of up elevator trim to get her flying level, a few clicks of right aileron trim got her flying true. I then started to EM her but she was struggling to pull the left hand turn, I had to be very gentle with the elevator after the turn is initiated with the rudder. She kept dropping out of the sky instead of pinging out of the turn. At first I thought it was me, as cross tails are a little different to vee tails, you have to bank them over with the rudder first then pull hard around the turn with the elevator (a bit like DSing). But it soon became apparent I had over ballasted her, so a quick landing and I dropped her to 600g, put things right, and she was soon pinging out of the turns and ripping up the sky in convincing manner.

After I got bored of EM practise I checked out whether the new Futaba 3150 servo's were any different from the Hyperion DS095 they had replaced by doing some reversal turns, but they seemed just the same. Roll rate is a bit slower than the Cyril or the Stinger and she doesn't grip in the turns as well either so you can't bang her round that quick, a grippy model she isn't. Still the cross tail means she is more stable and tracks really well, I managed to do some very nice reversal turns parallel to the slope much tidier than when I was at the Scottish Nationals with the Stinger a few weeks ago.

Anyway with the skies starting to get crowded with paragliders and full size gliders I called it a day and packed up to get home and back to the build table. At the moment I am in the middle of fixing my Cyril from a big crash earlier in the year and I also smashed the Stinger up in Scotland. However a big shout goes out to Vaclav at VV models who has managed to make me a new pair of tails and wing joiner in record time, fantastic service! So with a bit of luck I'll have the Stinger back together in time for the Welsh Open next weekend, oh well, better get back to the build table and do some more fixing!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Big Lift Day - Parlick

Westerly winds drove me to Parlick's North West bowl, love flying this site, always plenty of lift and rotor free landings. Wind was blowing hard, 30 - 40 mph, tossed the Stinger off with 1.5 Kg ballast and found the air rough on the right hand turn and ballistic on the left, as expected the wind was a bit crossed, but the bowl does straighten it up a little, great for practising difficult conditions. A high long turn was needed on the bumpy right hand turn to cut through the rough air, where as a strong pull on the left hand turn resulted in a satisfying slingshot out of the turn. With practice you could harness the momentum out of the left hand turn and then smoothly manage the right hand turn to maintain the speed.

Every now and again a thermal would come through and straighten up the lift making things ballistic, the Stinger sure shifts in good air, frighteningly quick, takes a lot of concentration and eventually I had to bail out for a rest! Landing was easy enough, not much crow required in the big blow to drop it down at my feet. I then filled her up to the max with 1.7 Kg of ballast and found she had slowed down a little and was harder to get on step, too heavy.

Next up was the Artist, she doesn't really have enough ballast for these sort of conditions but she made a good go at it, although she got tossed around a lot more than the Stinger, its fun to fly other models. Landing was 'interesting' as she didn't want to come down, but eventually she was down in one piece, the wind was getting stronger.

I had another look at the slope and decided I was in the wrong place, my right hand turn was over a great big hole in the side of the slope, so I moved position further to the left where the slope was steeper. I left the Stinger full as the wind was blowing stronger and with the increased lift the climb out was much better and as I came on course she turned perfectly into the right hand turn as if on rails. Perfect 30 second air, very smooth and consistent. I could only manage 10 mins or so as the speed was blowing my mind and I kept imagining that I wouldn't be surprised it it suddenly blew up, but no need to worry, the Stinger seems pretty strong with hardly a hint of flex in the wings.

However the landing was a nightmare as the lift was too strong, in the end I had to force it down under crow with lots of down elevator, I had that horrible moment when you suddenly realise the model is aiming for your head before she came down heavily in front of me. Fortunately I had taped the nose on and she seemed none the worse for her adventures apart from some mud and grass on the nose.

A great day out with clear views out to sea, too windy for the paragliders and the full size gliders were maxing out a few hundred feet above me, so I had the slope to myself.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Stinger Ballast Sheet

Well its been a wet day today so rather than fix planes I decided to do a ballast sheet based on the one developed by Pierre Rondel (see Planet Soaring ) for the Stinger. Found out that some of the ballast configurations I've been using have been having a negative effect on my Stinger by moving the CoG rearward. Might explain why it sometimes feels strange when I'm flying it or maybe its just me, still I'll now have a useful reference sheet to use when racing to take some of the guess work out of calculating it all in my head, well that's the plan anyway.

You can see from Pierre's sheet how the CoG shifts, Green for forward CoG, Red for rearward, I've removed the configurations that pushed it rearward and as soon as we get some new ink for the printer I'll be able to stick a copy to my ballast box.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Barbon After Work

Went up Barbon with the Stinger after work tonight for some EM practice. Conditions were as good as they get for this slope with a 25 mph wind with a touch of North in the Westerly wind that ensures strong lift, bright sunshine and pleasantly cool. Even so the thermals and subsequent sink make for interesting flying and its a good slope for practising flying in bad air.

First I flew with 920g of ballast, she turned quickly but got bumped around a lot in some of the rougher cold air, pump outs were average only gaining about 60ft above the slope edge. I landed and added 560g more  of fuse ballast to give a total ballast of 1480g and AUW of 3780g. Now the pump outs gained a lot more energy getting double the height of before, about 120ft above the slope edge. She gripped well in the turns but with the extra weight couldn't turn as tight so ploughed out further from the slope with smoother turns.

When the warm air came she went ballistic and you could pull more elevator in the turns to get her to sling shot through. I also experimented with high turns so that I could dive back onto the edge through the rough air but as soon as she lost her momentum she wouldn't get back on step without some more mega pumps. This wouldn't be possible in a race situation as you don't have enough time to climb out and get the energy during the pumping.

I landed again and took out the 560g of fuse ballast and tried again, the fast agile turns were nervous and it was difficult to hold a smooth line until the warm air came through and then she flew perfectly as if on rails. As the thermals cycled through it was fun trying to keep the turns super smooth so as not to loose momentum and keep a consistent course while waiting for the good air to come back, then you could really turn hard and pull that elevator.

I tried some reversal for comparison but the slope has a really small compression zone and I was useless at hitting the sweet spot so soon gave up and went back to EM. The slope seems to suit my EM style better, as I got more confident at getting closer to the slope edge occasionally I heard that satisfying DS thud as she went through the front side shear layer above my head.

Eventually I went for a landing but caught a super thermal and was able to speck her out at 500 - 600ft above the slope as I walked to the top to the flat landing zone. I then tried some F3B style dive turns to gobble up the height and get her down. Away from the noisy compression zone in the quiet smooth air you could clearly  hear her screaming and wailing like a banshee, loud enough to wake the dead. One of these days I'll have to try her out on a winch, she even has a hook ready installed.

Tried her again with the fuse ballast back in but the wind had dropped and she was too heavy to pump so didn't manage much of a climb out but she flew very smoothly with the extra weight. Landed and then took out four slugs reducing the total ballast to 1160g and now she was flying well again with monster pumps and smooth turns.

A productive nights practice learning more about good air and bad and what to do with it, from a ballast perspective flying heavy suits my style better as it deals with the crappy air better, just need to get a good launch otherwise the extra weight will slow me down.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Slope Glide 2013 - Hole Of Horcum

Fantastic weekend at Slope Glide 2013, two brilliant days of slope soaring heaven on the North Yorkshire Moors flying F3F and some Slope Aerobatics (well only two guys flew aerobatics). Only had time to do a little video at the end of the first day, just too busy flying and enjoying myself. Got a little more of the second days F3F racing still to come, but here is a short video of the Dark Lord putting his Dorado through its paces.

SlopeGlide 2013 - Aerobatics from Tom Foreman on Vimeo.

Well here is the second day of flying F3F in the South Bowl with strong wind, but not always square to the slope made the air a little variable. I had a reasonable day with another sub 40 and managed to win two rounds but only finished towards the bottom of the rankings in 10th out of 16, but that's F3F for you!

I still had a great time and enjoyed it immensely, very relaxed and easy going competition and we flew an amazing twenty rounds over the two days, don't think we'll be repeating that again any time soon. Thanks to Martin Newnham for the results, you can check out his report and the final results on his blog.

Slope Glide 2013 - F3F from Tom Foreman on Vimeo.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

2013 BMFA F3F Rd 4 Bishops Hill Scotland

Fantastic days racing at The Bishop last Sunday, plenty of sun and wind, it doesn't get any better than this! Paul and I rocked up early Sunday morning from the North West, an easy drive on empty roads about three and half hours. We had been told to meet at East Lomond but were delighted by a phone call from Mark Redsell to tell us the venue had changed to Bishops which is the preferred hill.

Paul and I arrived first as we hadn't even got to East Lomond and didn't have long to wait for the others to turn up before we started the long but pleasant climb to the top.

The whole shindig was up and running by 11:00 a.m. and I had high hopes for a decent result which soon resulted in a disastrous cut and I was soon in last place out of the sixteen runners. I persevered with my EM turns but seemed to struggle, I changed some settings which made a small improvement but still not fast enough with mid forty second times. Eventually I decided that the only way to salvage the day would be to revert back to reversals which I havn't done in 9 months, immediately my times dropped to sub forties and eventually I got fastest time of the day, so I was happy with that!

So lots to think about and I might have to adopt a more pragmatic approach to my flying and choose the fastest style to suit the hill and the conditions on the day.

1          Mark Redsell                 10490.94          1000.00
2          Kevin Newton                10420.47          993.28
3          Paul Upton                    10395.50          990.90
4          Peter Gunning               10188.56          971.17
5          Mike McCracken           9955.96            949.00
6          Mark Treble                   9937.30            947.22
7          Tom Foreman                9919.80            945.55
8          David Reid                    9779.07            932.14
9          Ronnie Lampe               9641.70            919.05
10        Frank Hulton                  9575.62            912.75
11        Ewan Maxwell                9325.86            888.94
12        Mick Walsh                   9235.10            880.29
13        George Young               8965.44            854.58
14        John Treble                   8650.03            824.52
15        Dave Watson                8536.20            813.67
16        Gonzalo Garcia-Atance  7863.26            749.52

FTD. Tom Foreman 35.20

2013 BMFA F3F Rd 4 Bishops Hill Scotland from Tom Foreman on Vimeo.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Horcum 2013 F3F Eurotour

Another punishing weekend at the Hole, beautiful weather, shame about the wind, very variable! A few photos while I work on the video.

Video now added!

Horcum 2013 F3F Eurotour from Tom Foreman on Vimeo.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Post BMFA Nationals

Well a week on from the Nationals and its time to reflect on what happened. Paul and I drove down on the Friday to arrive at a sunny Wrecker about lunch time to get some practise in, wind was bang on the slope and blowing a steady 30mph. I've never experienced lift so strong, it was awesome, Paul flew his Race MX first and was lapping it up, the strong narrow compression zone suiting his flying style. Then we both walked across the road and up to the top of the Back of the Wrecker to see what the landing zone was like, quite turbulent and the model came down quite abruptly, but the soft grass cushioned the fall.

I flew the Xenon next, the conditions suited this model perfectly, being a cross tail it flies on rails with no nasty tendencies, very firmly planted in the sky with great handling. It was really pinging out of the turns, and if I was brave enough I could even spot the front side DS shear layer above the little island of land that juts out from the cliff side to get a satisfying front side DS kick!

Now it was my turn to be guided over the road by Paul to the landing spot, by this time Mark Redsell and Pengy had turned up as well as a few others, the good weather and wind meant the hill would soon be getting busy.

I wanted to fly the Stinger next to see how it compared to the sure footed Xenon, it was a lot livlier and nervous and not as pleasant to fly as the Xenon in the strong lift, even with full ballast which made it feel a bit dull and unresponsive. I now had a problem that the Xenon had flown so well that I was tempted to race that instead on the Saturday. A few more flights with the Stinger eventually convinced me that the Stinger was faster but only just, and I decided to stick to the plan and race that instead.

Because there was a road bike race (Dragon Race) we couldn't get any accommodation in our usual Bridgend haunt so we slummed it in the opposite direction, Merthyr Tydfil. The Castle Hotel was nice enough apart from the heating being on full blast in the middle of summer, our room was on the third floor and all the heat was rising to the top the building, the room felt about 30 deg C! Still no need for any post flight chatter as you passed out pretty quickly as soon as your head hit the pillow, cracking cooked breakfast and 24h bar downstairs so on balance pretty good!

Saturday dawned another sunny day and we rocked up the wrecker about 8:30 a.m. with high expectations, as always, but we all know F3F is a cruel sport and all sorts of stuff can go wrong, so best to stay positive!

My first run was pretty good with a 38.75, then a couple of low 40's and then a 37.80, sounds pretty good until you realise that the fast guys were all doing sub 35's and Joel West who won even did a sub 30, basically a sub 35 was the new sub 40! Still I stuck to my guns and flew pretty good for me and ended up in 9th place after the first day. Still lots of room for improvement as my turns were too tight, I was missing the sweet spot of the narrow compression band, especially on the pump outs, and I kept cutting, well nearly cutting, but when you have to make a correction in a turn, it throws you off line for the next turn.

The landings were hard work as there could be up to 5 planes stacking up in the landing circuit as people walked over the road. I was flying pretty heavy ballasted, but fortunately there was tonnes of lift every where. I preferred to speck it out to get out of other peoples way, but it was still pretty stressful. I had a couple of dodgy landings, the worse one saw her heading out low towards the car park and hitting a load of sink, I managed to get around with enough height to grease her in at my feet, probably the best landing I've ever done!

The Wrecker did wreck quite a few models about 6 or 7, some got damaged on launch as the rotor grabbed them and slammed them into the ground. Others got damaged on landing, some got sucked into the pockets of sink close to the slope edge. Some flicked out of sight to the bottom of the cliff or stalled and went in, quite a frightening place to fly really, but that's part of the Wrecker experience.

Sunday was another day of glorious sunshine, but less wind and less lift, this made flying harder to get a quick time and you really needed some luck with the thermals. I flew better than the Saturday with less mistakes and better pump outs, but unfortunately this didn't equate with any progress up the rankings and I fell back to 11th place. With only three rounds flown the wind then changed direction and that was the end of the comp. Pity really as I could have done with some extra rounds to get back into the top ten, but that's racing for you.

Fantastic weekend of racing, best I've ever experienced and well run by the organisers, Martin, AJ, Simon, JP and everyone else involved.

Joel West
Martin Newnham
Mark Redsell
Mark Abbotts
Paul Upton
Mike Evans
Greg Dakin
Rich Bago
John Phillips
Jonathan Wells
Tom Foreman
Mike Shellim
Frank Hulton
Mark Treble
Paul Garnet
Keith Wood
Simon Thornton
Scott Ravenscroft
Andy Burgoyne
Ronnie Lampe
Graeme Mahoney
Jon Edison
Tony Livingston
Mick Walsh
Martin Drewett
Ian Web
Tony Robertson
John Treble
Pete Burgess
John Bennett
Ron Boughton
Ian Falconer

2013 BMFA F3F Nationals Wales from Tom Foreman on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

RCRCM Dorado

Got hours of footage of the Nationals to wade through, but while your waiting here is a dirty little edit of Greg Dakin flying his RCRCM Dorado after the comp was finished, lovely smooth flying!

Dorado from Tom Foreman on Vimeo.

Monday, 10 June 2013

BMFA 2013 F3F Nationals - Wales

Wow what a fantastic weekend of blue skies, wind, awesome lift and friendly company. Will write more later, but here are some photos of the weekend to wet your appetite...

Sunday, 26 May 2013

East Lomond Scottish Summer League Rd2

Went to Scotland yesterday to compete in the SSL at East Lomond, the forecast was good with bright sunshine and light winds and it was a great opportunity to try the Stinger in its first race. An easy 200 mile drive from Lancaster to East Lomond Hill near Falkland only took three and half hours and the first person I met in the car park was fellow southerner Mark Redsell! Shortly after the Scottish lads started turning up and we were shown the short walk up the hill to where we would be flying.

The hill is quite rounded with a steep slope, but no edge to speak of. The landing area was close by with no rotor but you had to be careful not to go too far back as there was a dead lift zone which could suck you into a small gulley. Although there was plenty of wind most of the time, the hill did not generate much lift, so ballasting was difficult and I used less and less as the day wore on and the wind got lighter until the middle of the afternoon when it suddenly got very windy and some of the ballast went back in.

I used the EM turn style throughout the day, but it did not give an advantage over reversal or yank and bank as there was not enough horizontal component of wind force to get any drive out of the corners. The best strategy seemed to be to gain as much height as possible and then fly as tight a course as possible and not make any mistakes and minimise your losses. This was very frustrating as I like to fly a more open and faster style, but this is F3F racing for you.

Occasionally you would get a thermal and this would generate the lift needed for a fast run, this normally resulted in a round win if the thermal came at the right time and position. Many a time I would get a slow run on the slope only to find a big thermal off course near the landing zone. At the lunch break I tried practising with less ballast and I launched into giant sink and all the wind disappeared, a tense five minutes was spent trying to keep airborne while the Stinger dragged its tail about looking sorry for itself while trying to avoid Euan's Cyril who was also struggling. Eventually a life saving thermal came along and dragged us both up from the pit of despair and a hasty retreat to the landing zone was made.

Fortunately the day was run very smoothly by the Scottish lads and we managed to get 14 rounds, in the belief that we would get two discards, only to find out back in the car park that two discards become active after 14 rounds i.e. 15 rounds - doh! Still I was lucky enough to get one of those elusive thermals and pop the Stinger's cherry with its first sub 40 and fastest time of the day. That and a couple of other round wins and I managed to get up to 3rd place, equalling my best finish last time I raced in Scotland last year.

Mark Redsell won although he admitted that he couldn't figure out the best way to fly the hill, trying various turn styles and different racing lines. He was closely followed by Dave Watson in 2nd place who had his brightly coloured Needle 124 flying very well indeed and looked much more settled with it than last time I saw him fly.

The standard of flying from the other guys was very good with minimum carnage and only poor Robert Carson had any damage when he had a radio problem with his Predator 3, Peter Gunning was also flying well however he had to leave early for a lunch date and only returned just as we finished for the day.

Final Score
Mark Redsell
David Watson
Tom Foreman
David Loomes
Mike McCracken
Ewan Maxwell
Craig Maxwell
Ian Stewart
Doug Maxwell
Peter Gunning
Robert Carson

East Lomond SSL Rd2 2013 from Tom Foreman on Vimeo.