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FWAL's blog
Posted by FWAL | May 13, 2015 @ 05:05 PM | 1,141 Views
4 layers of F/G 3 x 80g/m2 and 1 x 135g/m2 moulded over a 45mm dia plastic pipe. Cyno'd and glassed to the fuse. Very happy with the results.
Posted by FWAL | May 05, 2015 @ 01:51 AM | 1,123 Views
Not wanting to upset the family but still craving for a bit of flight time I was up and out early for a little slope therapy. This mornings slope was a short walk from my front door where I launched off the 6th tee of Langland Golf Course. It proved to be a really nice start to my Bank Holiday.
Posted by FWAL | Apr 26, 2015 @ 06:20 AM | 1,321 Views
After almost 2 weeks of Easterly winds the wind finally changed direction with just enough speed to allow some serious South Gower soaring. I was not the only person taking advantage of this small window of opportunity as tomorrow the wind is forecasted to be Northerly.
My latest and dare I say plastic Phoenix 2000 soarer was ready for a maiden. I'm not really sure what possessed me to purchase a plastic and polystyrene plane but the cost of 47 ex P&P and video's of it's flight characteristic persuaded or perhaps brain washed me to think that it was a good decision. As advertised it didn't take long and was an easy task to put together. As mentioned on forums the supplied clevis's do appear to be very fragile and could possibly have been replaced but I didn't at this stage. However, I did decide to add an additional rudder hinge, my own motor, ESC, folding prop, spinner and not forgetting the 6 servo's.
For the maiden I didn't programme any mixes and used Y leads for the ailerons and flaps. Keeping it simple to start off with. The CoG was set as per the instructions and when she left my grip into 20 mph of clean, crisp, off the sea lift there were no immediate flight corrections required, she just sailed off in a straight line whilst gaining steady height. In fact it was a very uneventful maiden, she flew extremely well, at times I felt she could do with a little more weight and the rolls were a bit slow and not very axial but to be honest I'm glad as I can now look forward to a bit of tweaking and experimentation to further improve this gliders performance. One thing which wont need any altering are the flaps, they did their job brilliantly and made my landings look quite professional.
Talking of professional the two Jet Proost pilots were looking very pleased with themselves! I was not alone this morning as an old Mumbles Modeller and his wife were also making the most of the favourable wind direction. Kerry has be a modeller since 1954 and his vast experience is very evident in both his building and flying prowess.
Posted by FWAL | Apr 16, 2015 @ 04:47 PM | 1,748 Views
A new build and a slightly different approach! I had previously amended Vertex's plug to increase the rocker and volume near the bow. However, I lent the plug to another Club member but they never found the time to build a hull. Saturday morning I awoke, took my four legged friend for a little walk down the woods to Caswell, around the cliff path back over Langland Golf Course and home. Breakfast, coffee then wetted out the first layer of 135g/m2 of fibreglass at 10:00hrs. At 14.00hrs the resin had 'kicked' and I applied another layer of 135g. At 17:00hrs I could lay the final laminate of 80g/m2 fibre glass. Then that evening whilst the resin was still green I applied a coat of just resin to fill the weave.
Therefore, in one day the whole F/G laminating process was completed and all that was left was a 80 grit sanding prior to another resin coat and hopefully painting. Usually this process takes a couple of weeks and the occasional fish eye.
By using this quicker technique approach I din't have to use spray mount to tack the F/G to the plug, nor did I use a brush. Instead I used a small foam paint pad and a credit card to do the wetting out. Am I converted? YES....
So with a little more enthusiasm this evening in between painting a bookcase and treating the lawn I made good progress by laminating the foredeck, kicker well and a fin box for my RG 65 Rebel D&B
Posted by FWAL | Mar 31, 2015 @ 02:30 PM | 7,730 Views
West Kirby Northern District IOM Ranking races 28th-29th March.
Wind, Rain, Sun, no wind and too much wind. What a weekend Oh and a record 65 entries including numerous IOM National, European, World Champions and me

West Kirby A Fleet, C Rig (7 min 14 sec)


Windy West Kirby (2 min 33 sec)
...Continue Reading
Posted by FWAL | Feb 24, 2015 @ 01:46 AM | 3,374 Views
Sunday morning I set off at 06:30 to the last South West District Winter Series race at Sedgemoor, Somerset. Prior to leaving the drive the windscreen required a good scrape to clear the ice, the dash was telling me to beware it was 0 deg C. It only just rose to 2 deg C in the 2 and 1/4 hrs it took to travel to the lake. At the lake it was off with the Sun glasses on with the wet weather gear. Six layers just about kept me warm and dry for the day.

SW IOM Winter Series, Sedgemoor (0 min 57 sec)


It didn't take long for the organisers to set up the race office and get the kettle and soup brewing. At this time the wind was pretty light and like a seasoned Green Keeper prior to a competition the buoys were layed in some awkward positions with the windward mark/finish line placed in the lee of the trees and leeward mark close to the bank and overhanging branches.
The skippers briefing was short and sweet and the 14 competitors were rigged and ready to race. Although, some were a little hasty and forgot something fairly important! A little warm up and the racing started at 10:00hrs
The racing was close and the left hand side was favoured by the fleet through out the day. Occasionally the centre paid off but you were likely to fall into a hole as you approached the windward mark/finish line which put pay to quite a few races for some skippers (me included) on more than one occasion. It wasn't long and the forecasted rain started and at the same time the wind...Continue Reading
Posted by FWAL | Feb 15, 2015 @ 05:11 AM | 2,418 Views
The pilot is raring to go and has been checking out the cockpit. Charlie was painted by a friend and what an absolutely superb job. The Aran jumper and Bomber jacket are wonderful. The metallic buckles and lifejacket are also extremely good. Now I must do the job justice with my finishings.
Posted by FWAL | Feb 14, 2015 @ 05:09 AM | 3,972 Views
These photo's were taken last July by Marcel who had travelled from Switzerland in his VW T5. The Bwlch was just one of his stop off's on his round Britain slope trip. Believe it or not it is very difficult to Slope soar in Switzerland due to the all the trees. It also appears that all the mountains are privately owned, permission has to be asked to cross each farmers land. Therefore, he finds it much better here in the UK.
Posted by FWAL | Feb 10, 2015 @ 03:16 PM | 2,813 Views
This morning I sealed the longerons and perimeter edges with watered down PVA. Then this evening I cut a paper template for the top deck covering. I used an off cut of turquoise Oracover to shrink down and leave the very distinctive ribbed shape.
I then masked around the Oracover leaving a small 5-8mm margin for the fibre glass to adhere directly to the surrounding balsa. Then I sprayed the Oracover with a list mist of 3M spray mount and then carefully applied the 200g/m2 of woven fibre glass. Using the spray mount securely holds the FG in place whilst wetting out and has no adverse effects. Using spray mount also allows you to really work the resin in sparingly without any puckering up or excessive movement or floating FG. I swear by the stuff.
All wetted out and overall I'm very pleased with the result. Hopefully, this method of covering will prove robust enough for some slope abuse.
Posted by FWAL | Feb 09, 2015 @ 07:36 AM | 2,736 Views
In the past I have melted down lead and poured it into a sand mould to form nose weight in one of my slopers. However, for this project I jut wanted to make a bulb without too much hassle. The idea of making a plug then a mould and then the excitement! of melting lead wasn't that appealing. So I decided to cheat and make the bulb from seven lead profiles glued together.
I made a MDF template of the shape using french curves and went for the 'If it looks good it probably is good approach for the position of the fin. The lead was then cut with the kitchen scissors and stuck together with CT1.
Then after leaving it for 24hrs I have just started to round off the corners. It still needs a fair bit of sanding and then I'll wrap it in an old pair of tights and give it a couple of coats of resin and paint. As you can see it has quite a narrow shape to cut through the water, similar to the hull.
Posted by FWAL | Feb 03, 2015 @ 03:58 PM | 3,697 Views
This is how I went about making my first fin. It started by purchasing a 1mm thick A3 size sheet of Carbon fibre. Cut two strips 50mm wide and cover the good face with low tack masking tape. Then chamfered the internal surfaces of the trailing edges (TE). Once done I taped the two TE's edge to edge and applied a thin bead of Gorrila epoxy. pic 1-2
Then folded one side over but spaced them apart at the leading edge (LE) and clamped the TE together. Once cured I cut a 4mm wide strip of carbon sheet and glued it just inside the LE which had previously been chamfered at roughly 45 degrees. Then I used epoxy to glue a 2mm dia carbon rod into the rebate to form a rounded LE. pic 3-4
It was then my intension to then push a 2mm dia rod inside the two skins to form an aerodynamic shape. However, as much as I tried I couldn't get the rod more than 12-13cm down inside the fin. So taking a big step backwards I split open the LE, positioned the spacer rod inside the fin and re glued together the LE. pic 5-6
All cleaned up and she looks pretty smart. A careful coat of clear nail varnish (Lacquer) on the LE a file to the TE and another polish and she'l be good to go. 395mm long 49mm wide 4mm thick she weighs 68g
Posted by FWAL | Jan 27, 2015 @ 05:38 AM | 2,517 Views
Last night after a good dose of sanding Rebel was removed from the shadows. 2.5mm balsa, 1 wetted out layer 80g/m2 F/G and 2 subsequent coats of west resin. Present weight 84g or just under 3oz. I think I'm in the right field!
Posted by FWAL | Jan 20, 2015 @ 03:11 PM | 2,776 Views
Added extra balsa to the wing leading edges to improve the profile which might have been a bit blunt. Also made a ply plate to help reinforce the area around the wing locating dowel which will be fitted at a later date.
Cut and fixed the upper deck longerons so now this model has really starting to take the form of a Hurricane.
The view of the tradesman's entrance shows the plastic tube which passes through the firewall and is fixed to the front of the GRP cowl. The tube will be loaded with balancing lead and the battery pack. The RX will be fitted to the ply plate on the left and the apertures for the servo's and switch have also been formed.
Work is still ongoing at the tail and a fair amount of fettling will be required to make this area more life like. At present and following the plan there's not a lot of scale detail with regards to fairing in this area.
Posted by FWAL | Jan 18, 2015 @ 02:56 PM | 1,882 Views
Gosh! How does a forecast of a NW12-16mph wind just the day before be so wrong! At the lake it was more like Southerly 1-2mph with an occasional NW shift. Still we had 12 close races between a MX14, Goth EVO and Harry's BOR.
It was also the maiden of my first effort into IOM sailmaking. The conditions weren't exactly ideal but the shape appeared to be OK and once I got my head into gear and a couple of small tweaks later I managed to win a couple of races. However, I'm not going to read too much into todays results as the conditions were a little fluky. Lets hope for a little more wind in two weeks time what ever the weather man says.
Posted by FWAL | Jan 16, 2015 @ 03:41 AM | 2,988 Views
Graham Bantock's, Brad Gibson's and MK's IOM sails. When making my next suit (which could be sooner than I thought) I think I will be adding to the luff and flattening the main. I'm pretty happy with the shape of the jib.
When I finally make a sail which I'm happy with I might purchase some double matt film!
Posted by FWAL | Jan 15, 2015 @ 03:23 PM | 2,988 Views
Harry's IOM sails are now rigged and they aren't too bad. There is definitely room for some refinements to improve their shape but I'll play around for a little while before jumping into the next suit. I should also make sure that the next sails are legal and the sail numbers are correctly positioned. I was so keen to use my home made stencil I put the first number in the wrong location. I noticed my error almost at once but it was to late the pen had streaked it's black inky mark on the film so there was nothing I could do but complete the task somewhat gutted.
Still looking on the bright side the Hurricane is coming along nicely
Posted by FWAL | Jan 14, 2015 @ 10:45 AM | 2,298 Views
I have finished making my first suits of sails both for Rebel a RG 65 and also a suit for Harry's IOM, Bor. Now we just have to wait till Sunday to see how Harry's new sails perform. Between now and then I just have to stencil in the sail numbers and fit them to the spars.
At the same time I have also been doing a bit to the Hurricane fuse including the upper decking, cockpit, cowl and wing tips.
Posted by FWAL | Jan 12, 2015 @ 04:38 PM | 1,938 Views
Rebel's balsa core hull has been laminated with 1 layer of 80g/m2 fibre glass. I'm hoping this will be adequate and offer enough impact resistance. The internal surface of the hull will also be laminated around the high load areas of the fin box and mast.
I have also made my first suit of sails which in the whole was an enjoyable job. However, the mylar film sets in a better shape on one tack better than the other so perhaps I'll be making another suit pretty soon. This evening I've drawn out a new IOM main for my sons yacht and will turn the film over on each alternate panel to try and stabilise the shape. I can't be too fussy as I bought over 20m of 50 micron film for just over 8.00 inc p&p on eBay on Christmas Day! Unfortunately, it's not double matt sided so one side has a very glossy finish but I doubt this will have a major effect on actual performance.
Posted by FWAL | Jan 07, 2015 @ 03:52 AM | 2,689 Views
Yep, here we have two poseurs showing off their 3D gliders. A brightly coloured Vagabond and a slightly more subtle (plain Jane) Traceur. Due to the pretty windy conditions and a couple of test crashes they were grounded during this slope session.
Posted by FWAL | Dec 30, 2014 @ 01:28 PM | 2,841 Views
South Gower slope action from gopro and sanyo

the cobra bites (2 min 34 sec)