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Posted by FWAL | Jul 12, 2015 @ 03:14 AM | 1,073 Views
I do enjoy watching the French performing slow and low slope aerobatics with large gliders. With this in mind I've been looking for a glider to help me learn and perhaps one day fly like the French. My 3D Traceur is a little too small, light and twitchy. The Phoenix 2000 is close but not quite aerobatic enough and my modified Phase 6 isn't a million miles away either. I'm not a good enough pilot to try these manoeuvres with the Hammer just yet. I have tried and have paid the consequences! And the Mefisto is still sadly out of action waiting for a new wing.
When I came across the new Hacker XL Vagabond it looked just like the glider I had been looking for. Large 2m wing, Epp bouncyness and relatively light.
So here's what you get and what unfortunately you don't get!
The manufacturing of the parts is really impressive along with the art work and laminated covered aerofoils. The fuse is left naked which for the cost is a little surprising as these kits aren't cheap.
Once you have read the instructions you'll soon be aware of two glitches. The kit doesn't include servo extension cables or the parts for the +/- 90 degree pulley controlled tailplane. This came as a bit of a shock as Hacker make no mention that additional cables are required and actively promote and photograph the pulley powered tailplane in their marketing literature.
The first job is to make long shallow cuts into and along the fuse, then to push in and glue 5 lengths of reinforcing carbon fibre...Continue Reading
Posted by FWAL | Jul 04, 2015 @ 10:52 AM | 763 Views
Yep it's always nice to come home and find a big box in the hall. Yesterday was no exception.
However, when you pay a lot of money for an ARF kit it's pretty mean of Hacker not to include servo extension cables (I've had them in much cheaper kits) and not including all the parts advertised in their marketing blurb and photo's. I say this as it is "stated" that the XL has a pulley system elevator which produce +/- 90 degree movement. Yet in the kit and instructions this is non existent. I will be contacting the dealer soon to find out why this is the case. But it's not the start I was hoping for.
Posted by FWAL | Jun 23, 2015 @ 03:01 PM | 952 Views
A Sunny day with a 15mph SW breeze. The conditions were just right for my annual 2ch soaring reminder. So with the Svenson Sunny's batteries charged I popped over to Hunts. The lift was extremely good and I had a great time with the Sunny and Hammer. However, it ended on a sad note when I stalled the Hammer too close to the ground and damaged the starboard wing. I have just emailed Rob at 'Flying-dog online RC' to see how much a replacement is going to set me back! I was going to email him anyway as last week I pre-ordered a XL Vagabond which should be a little more bouncy!
Posted by FWAL | Jun 21, 2015 @ 10:39 AM | 831 Views
After a week of pretty nice weather and some good SW winds it was great to be able to pop over the Golf Course for a little Sunset Soaring. I only took the Traceur and she wasn't set up very well for the lightish 10mph winds. I had to tone down the throws quite considerably but the outcome was well worth it.
Posted by FWAL | Jun 04, 2015 @ 04:38 PM | 2,187 Views
My boys are getting a little excited about a dogfight. The 66" model of a 79 Fighter Squadron MK1 Hurricane is nearly finished.
Posted by FWAL | May 26, 2015 @ 04:59 PM | 1,502 Views
The morning was spent on the shore the afternoon on the slope, not any old slope. Probably one of the very best slopes in Britain, perhaps the World
Posted by FWAL | May 13, 2015 @ 05:05 PM | 1,643 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 | 1,769 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 | 1,913 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 | 2,200 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 | 8,233 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 | 3,809 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 | 2,850 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 | 4,401 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 | 3,256 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 | 3,176 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 | 4,124 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 | 2,957 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 | 3,200 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 | 2,311 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.