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Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 02, 2018 @ 10:18 PM | 1,743 Views
Our last full flying day in the Northwest. Sad, but all good things must come to an end.
Lumber was the flavor of the day. We ran around Hood River most of the morning, then headed out to the slope just after noon. It was blowing when we got up top. At least 25mph, straight on to the slope. Very gusty and turbulent. If you didn’t get your plane out front quick, it was going to get slammed into the ground. We had a couple of full size sailplanes working the ridge. A Schweizer 1-26 and a Stemme S-10. They made passes over us several times. I’m sure they were working the ridge, but it looked like they were checking us out a few times. We flew our brains out, had very little plane damage. Amazing with the conditions. Only had some wing tip scuffs and Amadeo had a wing rod pulled out in a mid-air with Tom.
We stopped, early for us, at 5:00PM and headed down to Hood River for “First Friday”. Hood was packed with visitors and closed streets. So we went to dinner near Safeway (Thai food) and hit the car wash across the street. We topped off the perfect day with Mike’s Ice Cream.
Good bye NW! Next year the 6-pack!
Mike and the Pompano Hill flyers....Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 01, 2018 @ 11:16 AM | 1,387 Views
Thursday was an official Eagle Butte-Kiona-SDR day. So we got up early (for us) and packed all the planes, hit Bettie’s and then straight to Richland. Doc had surmised that Thursday would be the best day this week and he was right on. Wind was light when we arrived but quickly built up to 15-20mph.
Tom finally got a chance to fly his big molded Swift and Ben his HK Russell hotliner (converted to sloper). The highlights of the day was getting 5 Gulps/Moths into formation flying while pulling big pumps. And almost forgot, we had DJ and Jose pulling “dueling banjos” with DJ’s Energic and Jose’s Schwing. One after another they would pull screaming passes trying to get the loudest “moldie whistle.” That went on for 10 minutes straight.
We ended the perfect day with rain starting at 5PM. Tired and windburned it was time to head back to Hood before dark and hit a good restaurant. Double Mountain was a hit the other night, so performed a repeat performance. We also tried to hit Mike’s Ice Cream, but no luck, they close at 8PM on weekdays. Called it an early night and limped back to our rooms.
Friday, our final day, looks like Lumber.
Mike and the Pompano Hill...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | May 31, 2018 @ 12:49 AM | 1,598 Views
Today, Wednesday, we decided to check out some new sites. Wind was light in the Gorge and it seemed like a good time to try to discover or re-discover some good slopes. We headed over to the WA side and tried to access our old site of “Windago Lane”. We found several back roads that looked promising, but were posted with no trespassing or private drive signs. Windago Lane itself had two no trespassing signs and a private drive sign. So no joy there. We also swung by Courtney lane, which looked to be promising for a South or Southwest wind. We cut our losses and headed toward Diamond Ridge to see how it would work. On the way we encountered a freshly born fawn and her mom in the center of the road. Mom, bounded off, but the fawn was so fresh, she could only crawl. She hid herself on the side of the road. So we grabbed a few pics and left her so mom would rejoin her.
Once we reached Diamond Ridge, we walked in the final 500ft so as not to scratch up the rental trucks.
Air was very light at Diamond. DJ was able to fly his Rifle 1M (electric version obviously). He had a couple tough landings but his plane survived. Before we left Diamond we did a once over to check out any future flying sites. No real luck and worse, we found recent evidence of a really big bear (huge skat) in the vicinity.
By now the day was exhausted and it was time to head back to Hood River. We checked out some windsurfers at the beach area at Hood before grabbing dinner at the Pfriem...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | May 30, 2018 @ 03:17 AM | 1,370 Views
Our merry group headed out to Lumber about 12:30. We met up with TomFlyer and his wife. He was trimming out a Vindicator and also flew his PSS Flokerschmitt. It was a cold day for a change. Temp was shown to be 60 deg., but up on the slope with a 30+ wind it felt more like 45 deg. Our whole group stayed huddled near the bushes on the left side of the slope to stay warm. We flew most of what we brought. As always had a great time. I don’t believe any of guys had had major damage (maybe a few stress cracks and some broken bolts). We had some great screaming speed runs. Lots of ballast was used. I actually got my Gulp to perform an “egg beater” just like we use to perform with the FVK Bandit electric. It was awesome. As an added benefit we had a couple full size gliders play around on the ridge, working the ridge line above us. Also a USAF C-17 made a low flyby heading South from Hood River.
We flew on for a bit after TomFlyer left. Then we headed down to Double Mountain Taphouse. Had 3 pizzas and tried out the some local brews. We called it a night about 8:15 and headed back to our rental for some rest. Tomorrow we are planning for Diamond Ridge, with a stop by Windago lane (White Salmon) to see if it is now accessible. There has been some new construction in the area and Miami Mike suggested we check it out for access.

Goodnight all
...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | May 29, 2018 @ 03:17 AM | 1,838 Views
With a big NW breakfast under our belt, we headed over to the Washington side to test out Klickitat.
The wind was really rockin in Klickitat. Jose saw 33 mph on his wind meter (and the gusts were much stronger). Lift was tremendous at Klick. You just could not bring your planes down. We were forced to land all our planes on the road or along the slope. Unfortunately, our favorite landing site, across the road, now is closed to us. The new landowner has built a house, entry gate and has No Treaspassing signs posted quite predominately on all the fences. We accidentally landed a plane on his property and he was very reluctant to allow us to retrieve it. He also informed us that the slope side of the road is private property. So, it looks like future slope flying at the Klickitat site may be difficult if not impossible. After this depressing news we packed up and headed over to Grayback Mtn. Grayback had not changed much. There was plenty of “alpine lift” that went way out over the valley. Only two incidents of note happed while were there. Jose damaged his Mini-Destiny and DJ had the bejessus scared out of him when a snake went by his feet while he was flying (turned out to be just a rat snake).
We called it quits about 5PM to head back to Hood for a dinner at the Thai restaurant.
Tomorrow we’re planning to return to Lumber.
...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | May 28, 2018 @ 02:52 AM | 1,553 Views
A very good day flying. We started our morning with breakfast at Betty’s dinner. Then spent most of the morning in Hood River, getting supplies (suntan lotion, ice, water, soft drinks, etc.) Our choice of Lumber site was almost perfect for the wind direction. Wind was strong with only a few dropouts. No real crashes to speak. Only tragedies, were Ben leaving his 2nd transmitter antenna at home, I left a transmitter module back in the rental and DJ left his a wing rod back at the rental.
We flew until 4:30 and then headed into Hood for RC parts at the hobby shop.
No joy at the hobby shop for most of the parts we needed. So, it was off to Taqueria’s for a yummy Mexican dinner. After dinner we returned to the rental for an early night and watch the sun set from our balconies. Another awesome day in the NorthWest
Planning on hitting Klickitat for Monday.

...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | May 27, 2018 @ 02:51 AM | 1,777 Views
After two years we’re back out in the NorthWest. Today is a blur. Most of us had gone to bed at midnight, gotten up at 4:30AM and then spent almost all day flying across the country. By the time we had rounded up our rental cars and reached Hood River it was 5PM and we only had a couple hours of light left. We elected to head to The Dalles slope. It was close and easily accessible by car. The wind was whipping at 30mph and Tom swore he felt a gust twice that amount as we reached the site. DJ pulled out his combat wing. Amadeo his Electron. Tom and Ben had their Gulps. Jose and I elected to take pics. The air was a little to strong and turbulent for unleaded foamies. After an hour, with fading sunlight, we packed up and headed down to Clock Tower Ales for some IPA’s and good grub.
As I write this, Tom and I discussed the best slope(s) for tomorrow. With a 20mph wnw wind we think we’ll hit Lumber.

...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Apr 07, 2018 @ 04:14 PM | 1,370 Views
I’ve been busy with a couple of projects. My stepson had sent me a Mavic Pro for my birthday, so I’ve started learning about drones and aerial photography. My TD plane (Shadow) had gotten long in the tooth and been through one crash. So I petitioned the finance minister for a new Shadow 2. Thank you Wifey and SoaringUSA. And not to forget, the South Florida Boys are returning to Oregon this May for a slope-cation. That means I’m on a repair/building frenzy on my slope ships for a late May departure.
I did squeeze in some flying this week. Poh prompted me into pulling out some birds. Thursday looked like good thermal conditions. So I met up with him at about 11AM at Eagleville soaring club with my Jerry, Radian, Gentle Lady and DJI Mavic Pro.
It was mixed clouds and sun. Suprisingly good lift. Poh flew his E-Shadow 1. At one point he had 35 minutes flight time on one launch. One of those days, if you got above the layer, you could stay up all day. I had some great times with my Jerry. It’s a lead sled, but the lift was everywhere above a certain altitude, and it could do no wrong. Trying out the Mavic Pro was fun. I’m not really a drone enthusiast, but the aerial photography side of it appeals to me. I shot a few movies and a couple pics. One is attached to the blog. Spent too much time fussing with my Radian. I had converted it from 72mhz to the FrSky system last week. It tested great at home, but the receiver wouldn’t even light it’s LED at the...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Mar 17, 2018 @ 01:14 PM | 1,859 Views
He's back! Been busy with work for the past 8 months. Now that my work project is done, I'm back home enjoying the retired life. Knowing this, Poh called me up and coerced me to join him and Gary at Eagleville for some thermal flying.
I caught up with them about noon at E'ville. Gary and Poh were already specking out. Amazing, since the wind was about 10-15 with 20mph gusts. I was going to fly my Radian, but backed off. It was just too gusty for a lightweight bird. Luckily, I had charged my Jerry warmliner and brought it along just in case. Thermals were strong, but very fast moving as you would expect. I actually thermalled the Jerry out ( not an easy task). After about two hours of flying we called it a day. No crashes, no damage for anyone. So it was a good day. Then it was off to the Maple Street grill in E'ville for some comfort food and jaw-jacking.
Mike...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 24, 2017 @ 08:56 PM | 4,966 Views
This Saturday was the "Longest Day" club picnic at the Tullahoma Coffee Airfoilers. Poh had sent me a note about it and I remembered the wonderful chili fun fly the club had last fall. So it didn’t take much of a nudge for me to drive the 48 miles down for a Southern homestyle dinner.
As always, the food was to die for. I spent about 3 hours munching and talking to the Tullahoma boys.
I had hoped to wait until nightfall to enjoy the scheduled “night fly”. But the wife called and was worried about me driving in the dark back to Murfreesboro, so I packed it in about 8pm.
Thanks Coffee Airfoilers
Great food and great flying
Mike...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | May 31, 2017 @ 10:58 PM | 5,316 Views
Spent the weekend at the MidSouth Sailplane competition in South Carolina. I’d never been to the MidSouth, always wanted to go. Poh Khaw and I left on Thursday so as to arrive at the hotel before Friday’s ALES. I only competed in the TD and RES events. Poh competed in all the events (ALES, TD and RES). I didn’t have my repaired Shadow fully setup on my Taranis. So I flew my heavy, old Acacia 2 and didn’t place well (that’s my excuse). For RES, I flew my brother Brian’s 30-year old GL on a 20-year old Vision radio (it actually flew quite well, earning me a best round award on Monday). Poh flew his trusty Shadow E, new Stork 6 and SkyBird.
I hadn’t been to Triple Tree Aerodrome before. It was impressive. Definitely a “world class” facility.
Golf course grass, full camping hookups, large bath house, and an onsite aviation hanger/museum.
Poh and I had a great time. Poh spent lots of time after flying, fishing at the lake. He actually caught several sunfish and a bass. Tom Broeski pulled a 20lb catfish out of the lake while we were there.
The food service was great. We had an on site hot breakfast, lunch and dinner on the weekend. The main dinner Saturday night was scrumptious. With pulled pork, brisket, smoked chicken, sausage, mac ‘n cheese, brussel sprouts, baked beans, broccoli, salad, pound cake, brownies and sweet tea. Yum, yum.
I’ll be back next year.
Mike

PS I posted my 100+ pictures on the MidSouth thread:
https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...onships/page13
Posted by mfwilliams | May 17, 2017 @ 12:17 AM | 5,128 Views
My step son’s graduation was this last Saturday in Miami Beach. So my wife and I headed down to South Florida that weekend. Saturday morning, before the graduation, I snuck out for a few hours to fly with my old club members on the “hill”.
It was great to see the old guys. A small group turned up for flying on the SE Bowl. The wind was a steady 10-15mph out of the South with some strong gusts. There was no problem catching slope or thermal lift. I saw Larry S speck out his Olympic II several times. Since I had arrived empty handed (no planes), I had multiple offers to catch some stick time. Mike Naylor let me have time on his Weasel Trek. Mark Atzel lent me his HK Ridge Rider. Finally, I tried out Amadeo’s Gulp 48”.
Thankfully, all the planes were returned in good shape. I was worried that I was getting a little rusty with my slope flying. Unfortunately, Ben and Larry weren’t as lucky. Ben’s Filip and Larry’s Olympic met half way down the slope and it wasn’t pretty.
While there, I got to see a couple new planes on their maiden flights. Amadeo got his Gizmo 36 flying. It looked pretty good and fast on it’s trim flights. Tom tested his Windrider Bat 2 using 3, 2 and 1 vertical fins. Tom and I had both ordered Bat 2’s from Ming and he had gotten his flying first (mine is still in the box). Tom had also set his Bat up with 2 elevons and one elevator. He hopes to setup a crow configuration. The Bat 2 was pretty fast, but Tom is still working out CG and best...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | May 09, 2017 @ 09:59 PM | 5,166 Views
Went to the Tullahoma spring ALES contest this Sunday. Friday flying was scheduled as a "foamy" only event. I had planned to attend, but it was rained out. Saturday was very breezy, so I skipped it. Especially since my only ALES bird was a Radian. I only flew the Sunday contest and conditions were excellent.
I posted my photos on the contest thread at :

https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...-May-6-7/page2

Mike
Posted by mfwilliams | Apr 20, 2017 @ 06:31 PM | 5,929 Views
Flying twice in one week? Unheard of for me. But, just after flying on Wednesday, Poh suggested we go flying on Saturday. Actually, some F&F. That’s “Flying and Fishing”. So Saturday morning I drove South to the Normandy for some slope flying. I found Poh already fishing below the dam on the spillway. He had no bites. So we headed to the top of the dam for the real fun.
We parked just off to the side of the dam top. Don’t want to park and block the top access gate. Sure way to get into trouble. Since it was the first time I’d flown on a weekend (holiday weeked actually), I was surprised at the quantity of people on and around the dam. There were boaters launching, fisherman at the dock and spillway, joggers on top of the dam, and families launching kites.
Poh brought his HK Ridge Rider and his Radian. I brought my Gillette, Twist, Zulu and ASK-21.
Predictions were for 10mph out of the South, which is great for the site. In actuality it turned out to be more like 12-15mph with 25mph gusts. Plenty of lift, a bit turbulent in places. We both flew all our planes. I flew my Multiplex Twist long enough to spin it in due to low battery (no real damage, just cracked wing rod).
We stopped at about 3PM with a slight wind/sunburn and no fish. We packed everything up and headed up to Belle Buckle for a late lunch.

It was a great F&F day

Mike W

...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Apr 17, 2017 @ 05:55 PM | 6,359 Views
It may only be Spring, but it seems like summer has already arrived in middle Tennessee. Poh sent me an email on Monday that they’d be winching at Tullahoma on Wednesday. So I packed up my only working TD plane (old Acacia 2) and my only ALES plane (Radian) and headed South to the Coffee Airfoilers on Wednesday morning. I found one winch already setup and another one due at the airfield around 1pm (the airfoilers keep their winches on trailers and two members keep they at home when not in use). Poh was already getting “Euphoric” with his Euphoria when I arrived. I setup my ancient “beater” Acacia 2 and had a couple trim/test launches (hadn’t flown it in over 3 years). Lift came in large and strong cells from the NW corner of the field. Poh, Gary, Charlie and I both caught some fantastic thermals and had some long flights. After I finished tweaking out the Acacia I turned my attention to my Radian. I had just purchased an approved altitude limiter from Aloft Hobbies for the end of month, foamy ALES contest at Tullahoma. The limiter was set to 200M and 30secs and it worked as advertised. We finally shut down at about 3PM and headed over to downtown Tullahoma (about 1.5 miles away) to check out a restaurant I had found on line.
All in all a good day. No crashes, long flights, no major winch problems (only a couple line breaks)
and a great lunch.

Mike...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Mar 29, 2017 @ 09:23 PM | 6,344 Views
Larry Squire sent me this email concerning last Saturday's flying on the hill. As you know, one of our most devoted club members, Dan Johns, passed exactly one month ago, on 2-25-17. At this time, I would like to share with you Larry's message. Most assuredly, Dan is sorely missed, Mike


March 25, 2017, from now on will be known as "Dan Johns Day."

Today was a "10"  in the 70 s, wind 10 to 20, and thermals everywhere. A very big turnout as we got 3 new members. all of them very good pilots and flying great planes.
Around 11 oclock Jamie came with a truckload of Dans planes.Our plan was to have the guys come over and pick out what they fancied and give it a new home and if inclined,make a small donation in Dans name.
I am collecting and will send to Dans brother Mike, who has been working with us to distribute Dans "treasures".
 We paused and we took time for a minutes silence in Dans honor and when our little ceremony was over there were 2 of Dans planes in the air. I got a strange feeling somehow Dan was enjoying from up above. 
We still have a few planes left if any one was not able to come today. 
 
A lot of the guys came up to me and said they are going to miss Dan and respected him for his expertise,
friendliness,and most of all his ability to solve technical problems.Last but not least, Dans tent was like
heaven on those 90 degree days. 
Our friend is irreplaceable. RIP ,and my best friend is gone,  Larry
Posted by mfwilliams | Mar 19, 2017 @ 07:37 PM | 6,560 Views
Now that the weather improved. The guys at Tullahoma are coming out more frequently. So a week later we’re back at the field. Weather was similar to the week earlier, although a little cooler.
Poh showed up and was trimming out his V-tail Explorer and Stork. Gary returned with his 100” e-Riser and Radian Pro. Art was trying to get his Supra flying. He had several bad trim throws, until we sorted out his aileron centers and programming. Brian Smith showed up to wring out his large gas bird on the runway.
I unfortunately, had very bad luck. I augered in my favorite plane, the Shadow.
It appears I was “stung” by the Taranis lockout issue (see https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...is-Rx-lock-out ).
During test flying, the Shadow went into failsafe and descended into the woods behind the shooting range. There was no low voltage warning (5 volts shown) and no RSSI warning (until it disappeared into the woods). Using the RSSI indicator to locate it, Gary and I trudged through the woods until we finally located it. Plane was not a total loss, it’s repairable, but it’s going to take some TLC and time.
This is a known issue (see article reference) with the Taranis and X8R/X6R in a busy electronic enviroment (I.E. we fly on an Airforce base and a military chopper was close by at the time).
Just noted FRsky has posted a new beta firmware, last week, to specifically correct this issue. I will flash as soon as my plane is repaired (or should I get a new Shadow-2?).
...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Mar 11, 2017 @ 04:47 PM | 6,795 Views
I can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted an entry to the blog. Wow, 4 months. As an excuse, I can safely say the weather has been too wet, windy or overcast for good flying.
Poh talked me into going down to Tullahoma for some winching and electric flying on Wednesday.
I really wasn’t prepared. My JR XP9303 had been repaired by Horizon (Horizon found a failed cell in the transmitter pack). Unfortunately, I had no memory backups and all the model setups were lost.
Since I didn’t have a radio programmed for my thermal planes I was forced to go the “all electric” route. That night I hurriedly setup my Radian “camera plane” on my old Vision transmitter and performed the “mods” that make a Radian competitive. I. E. elevator decalage to 0-0, taping the rear fuse, larger Graupner prop, and stronger/straighter clevises. I also preped my Jerry warmliner for flying.
When I arrived, just before noon, a fair sized crew had showed up at the field. About 9 people, but only 5 guys flew sailplanes. The rest came by to assist or “shoot the breeze”.
The weather conditions were good. Temps peaked in the high 60’s, crystal blue sky, great lift hung over the NW corner of the field. If you reached the NW corner at a high altitude, you were set for the day. Three of us spent our time trimming and testing new birds. Gary had his 100” Sig Riser electric. Poh had a Stork. And I had of course, my cobbled together Radian. All three of us had good luck with our trim...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Nov 11, 2016 @ 11:54 AM | 7,586 Views
Thursday looked like a calm day, Poh and I decided to go for some “flat field flying”. We debated on Tullahoma or Eagleville. Eagleville was closer for both of us, so the decision was made.
We set up the winch and flew electrics. Poh flew his Shadow and his Electric Skybird (similar to a big BOT). I flew my Jerry and Shadow. Local flyer, Gary, showed up and joined us with his Electric BOT.
Even with a cool, crystal clear sky we found plenty of lift. All three of us “specked out” at least once.
We spent almost 4 hours at the field, finally packing up the winch and planes around 3:30pm.
Had a couple of minor tragedies during our flying. Gary put his BOT in a drive and heard a crack. We encouraged him to land as soon as possible. On landing, we confirmed that his sheeting (and possibly spar) had cracked about 3 inches out from the root. Gary was lucky to get it down before a wing failure.
I had my own tragedy. My trusty JR XP9303 model select screen was corrupted and displaying goofy symbols. I had to stop flying my Shadow, even though it seemed to function properly. I was afraid I was testing my luck. Worst part is, I have not backed up any of models in several years and have not started setting them up on my newer Taranis. I understand that is a known issue on 9303’s and is usually a failed “encoder” or main board. Hopefully, when I send it back to JR they can save the model memory. I have too many models and trim settings to either setup on the...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Nov 07, 2016 @ 09:13 PM | 7,547 Views
The last two slope trips to Normandy have all been on Wednesdays. So it was not a surprise that this Wednesday showed good winds for Normandy. Wind was out of the South at 10mph, so conditions were good. We had a fair sized group (for Normandy). Poh turned up with his Ridge Ryder and Radian. Bill Jenkins showed up with his Ridge Ryder and his own design glider. Chris Woodward showed up with an Easy Glider , Miles 2M, DAW 1-26 and LeFish. I had my Mini Rotor, Gillette and Zulu. I ended up with radio problems on two of my planes and only flew my Zulu. Poh flew both his planes. Bill flew his Ridge Ryder a few times and then test flew his own design T tail glider. Chris hadn’t flown slope in quite a bit of time. He actually had to pull gliders out of a storage unit before he came over to fly. Chis ended up flying only his MPX Easy Glider and his Electric Miles.
We spent 4 hours of flying, before calling it a day to soothe our wind burns. Another good day at the “Norm”.

Mike...Continue Reading