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.