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Posted by mfwilliams | Apr 20, 2017 @ 06:31 PM | 1,234 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 | 1,737 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 | 1,653 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 | 1,870 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 ).
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 | 2,066 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 | 2,911 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 | 2,924 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
Posted by mfwilliams | Oct 28, 2016 @ 06:16 PM | 3,040 Views
Poh rang me up Monday and let me know that conditions on Wednesday would be great for sloping at Normandy Dam. Wind was supposed to be 10 mph out of the South. So I charged my Zulu, Weasel Evo, Falco, Mini Rotor and FVK Gilette for the South bound drive toward Tullahoma. Poh and I agreed to meet at 11:30am. Traffic was terrible and I got out of the house late, so I didn’t get there until 12:15pm, the same time as Poh. On arrival, we found conditions fantastic. The wind was coming the perfect direction (SSW) and wind was 15-20mph (predicted at 10mph!).
I flew my Weasel EVO and Falco. Poh flew his Fun One and Half Pipe. Bill Jenkins and his wife joined us for moral encouragement. Bill also got photos of us flying (thank you Bill!).
We flew until about 1:45pm, when the wind just suddenly died.
We tried to wait out the lull, but the wind never came back. So we finally threw the “towel in” and decided to have a late lunch with Bill and his wife in Bell Buckle.

Mike W

PS: I’d like to thank Bill Jenkins. Bill has graciously sent me his photos from the Dam and allowed me to use them in the blog. As always, thanks Bill....Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Oct 26, 2016 @ 11:24 PM | 2,747 Views
The Tullahoma Coffee airfoilers had a Chili cook off on Saturday the 15th. Poh invited me to meet him at the field, have a great lunch and get some flying in.
Poh brought his electric Shadow and I brought my trusty Jerry and Falco. The Falco was just in case the wind turned out great for the nearby Normandy Dam (which it didn’t).
The cook off was great. Plenty of southern delicacies like corn bread and chess pie. The Airfoilers really do these things right. We spent about four hours there. Mainly talking, with a little eating and flying (very little) thrown in.
Had a few fly overs during the contest from the nearby Beechcraft Heritage museum flyin. Formations of one type of Beechcraft would come over. Bonaza’s, Barons and D-18’s were all cruising across the sky. Made for quite an interesting day.
All in all, a fantastic Saturday.

Mike...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Sep 24, 2016 @ 01:49 PM | 6,942 Views
Sorry no blog postings in a while. We have had plenty of family and friends stopping by in Middle Tennessee. That's put a damper on getting out for some flight time. This weekend was the "NashBro 2016" event put on by RCGroups. Although it's a 3D profile event, it mentioned "...focus is profile planes you can bring whatever you want."
It is held in the little town of Leipersfork, which is located outside Franklin, TN.
I called up Poh and planned to meet up on Friday (9-23) and do some sailplane flying.
Even though 3D is not my cup of tea, I had a great time. Sure enough, people were flying gas, electric, profile, warbirds, DHLG, FPV, and drones. The crowd was a pretty friendly group. There were people driving in from FL, GA, MO, IN, OH and of course locals.
Typical for Poh and I, we went looking for lunch at a nearby restaurant. The actual town of Leipersfork sits about 3 blocks from the event. Reminds me a lot of the "cutsey" town of Belle Buckle. So we bee lined there and found a combo grocery store\southern restaurant.
After a hearty lunch and plenty of sweet tea, we returned to the field to watch the mayhem. They had several mass launch events and quickest climb to altitude event. I expected lots of carnage, but surprisingly, I only observed 2 low impact collisions (no damage).
Poh and I decided against winch flying (he had brought his winch). With the amount of RC traffic, the winch line would have caused...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Aug 16, 2016 @ 11:35 AM | 3,651 Views
Poh rang me up Thursday and let me know that conditions on Friday would be great for sloping at Normandy Dam. Wind was supposed to be 10 mph out of the South. Additionally, the forecast for the remainder of the week showed lots of rain. So I charged my Zulu, Weasel Evo and Falco for the South bound drive toward Tullahoma. I arrived about 11:15 and found Poh unloading his planes at the boat ramp parking lot. He suggested we go toward the center of the dam to avoid turbulence on the sides either from trees or air spilling over the valley walls. As usual he was right on.
There was tons of great lift. It was a mix of strong thermals getting pushed up the Duck River valley and a steady 10mph wind. At times, this “slermal” combo reached over 20+ mph and we found it very difficult to penetrate with any of our foamies. Twice, I was blown back over onto the rocks on the Dam’s North face. No real damage, outside of my Evo Weasel’s canopy getting cracked. For once, Poh and I flew everything we brought. Bill Jenkins, from the Coffee Airfoilers, showed up about 1pm to watch and get some pictures. By 2:30 pm Poh and I had enough wind/sun and called it a “good day”. As our usual custom, we headed out for a late lunch. This time we stopped in the tourist town of Bell Buckle for some good old country cooking at the Bell Buckle Cafe.

Mike W

PS I’d like to thank Bill Jenkins. Bill has graciously sent me his photos from the Dam and allowed me to use them in the...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Aug 07, 2016 @ 12:55 AM | 5,962 Views
I haven't been flying for over a month. So when Poh said they be flying Wednesday at Tullahoma, I jumped at it.
I brought my Shadow, Poh brought his Electric Skybird and Shadow, Charlie Bair and Chuck Anderson were flying Lilan's (Chuck's design that he has an ongoing article in RCSD on) and the other guys were all flying Electric BOT's (or Electric Skybirds?).
Don Cleveland was fresh back from the NATS, but was thwarted in his flying by a loose flap servo on his Explorer. We spent a couple hours flying off the winch and electric flights. The lift seemed very erratic. It was very strong at times (I had one 30 min flight) and other times it was non-existant. By noon the temps had reached the high 80's and only two of us were still using the winch. So Charlie packed up the winch trailer about 12:30 and we called it a day. Poh and I then headed to Shelbyville for some Mexican at Alfonso's.
Flying and Chimichanga's made for a great day!

Mike...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Jul 06, 2016 @ 12:41 PM | 6,004 Views
Finally got some RC flying in on Friday (sorta). Haven't flown or touched a plane since I came back from the Northwest slope trip.
Poh gave me a heads up, that the Tullahoma club was going to setup the winch on Friday morning. I packed up the Shadow and headed down about 11am. Unfortunately, they had packed up the winch by the time I had arrived (they started at 9am). I pulled up a chair and watched the guys fly their electrics.
Poh and I talked ourselves into going to Piggy's place for some Tullahoma BBQ by 1pm.
We then spent a couple hours eating and talking about next year's Northwest trip.
All in all, a typical lazy day for me here in TN.

Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 12, 2016 @ 01:18 PM | 4,649 Views
Friday Day 7
Temps had dropped into the lower 60’s so flying was much more comfortable. We spent our last full flying day, shopping again. Some of the guys were still looking for T-Shirts so we searched most of the morning. It was 12:30 before we fin ally left Hood and drove up to Lumber. Tom had left earlier and was up before we even parked at the base. The wind didn’t look great down in Hood, but Tom reported we had plenty on the slope.
By the time all of arrived on the slope, the wind was howling at a good rate. It had a little North component in it and Lumber works best with a West wind. We had quite a bit a turbulence in the first 100’ of the slope. Once you got past that it was a vertical elevator. We put up quite a few planes and at one point the sky was filled with Gulps and Moths (no pics of that because I was flying my Gulp). We had some tremendous pumps and climbouts. Most of us were running 2 bars of lead in or Gulps and it was reflected in the energy retention in the pumps.
As you can see in the pictures, we had a storm hanging out on the West side of the Hood river valley. It played with us for quite a while and then shortly after 4PM it reached us. Between the drizzle and the cold air (temp was about 60deg with a wind chill closer to 45deg), we choose the better part of valor and headed to the rental SUVs. Hood was filling with weekend warriors (it was Friday evening), so instead of packing at the rooms, we headed to Double Mountain for...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 11, 2016 @ 12:22 AM | 5,369 Views
Thursday Day 6
We spent Thursday morning shopping downtown for gifts for family and friends. After yesterday’e epic flying at Tri-Cities (Eagle Butte) the crew needed to recharge before heading out to a slope.
The choice for today was Grayback. It was after lunch before we headed across the Columbia and up to Klickitat. We stopped at Klick for a moment to check out the winds. It didn’t look great, so our expectations for Grayback were low.
We were surprised by the conditions at Grayback. The lift was turbulent from the lip, but was very strong as you ventured out over the valley. We flew our brains out until we noticed threatening clouds over Mt Adams. At about 6:30PM we aborted our flying with the storm approaching. 30 mins later, after shooing the cattle from the road, we arrived at Huntington’s steakhouse in Klick.
With a hearty steak dinner in our tummy we made the final run across the Columbia and into Hood through a light rain shower.
...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 09, 2016 @ 11:11 AM | 5,403 Views
Wednesday Day 5
Winch Doc met us at Char-Burger for breakfast at 8AM. After a hearty meal we headed out for the 2-1/2 hour drive to Tri-cities (Richland, Pasco, Kennewick) for a day at Eagle Butte.
When we arrived at Eagle the wind was about 20 mph and rising. Temps were in the 70’s. A beautiful change from the light wind and 100 deg temps we had seen this week in the Gorge.
The lift stayed great, eventually the wind increased to the 40’s. Outside of a couple minor rain showers, the flying was “epic”. Everyone flew everything they had and flew until they couldn’t see straight. As more rain threatened, the temps dropping to 65 and the wind now howling, we packed up with smiles on our faces and started back for Hood River. After a dinner at the Full Sail brewery,
we marked this up as a nearly perfect day and called it a night....Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 08, 2016 @ 01:01 AM | 5,526 Views
Tuesday Day 4
We had a small drop in the temp. No more 100’s, only middle 90’s. The wind was still great, so we headed to a spot we had identified last year across from Wishram in Celilo. The wind was a little too cross at the site. We then tried to check out another spot in Lyle, WA above the high school. It was too difficult to access so we aborted and tried to decide on our next site.
We took a vote and Lumber won.
The walk in was a little tough for some of us older guys.
But, it turned out to be a great choice. We flew three solid hours. The lift was fantastic with some slight turbulence in close.
After backing up our gear we headed into Hood for dinner. As we entered Hood we ran into Mike Stubbs on the way to the Passport Pub. We stopped and had a few beers with him. We let him know that we’re heading over to Eagle Butte in the morning with Winchdoc and we had room if he wanted to join us.
We closed out the night with a dinner at the Thai house. After dinner we headed to the Vagabond to charge our planes and get a good night’s sleep.

...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 07, 2016 @ 04:15 AM | 5,548 Views
Monday Day 3
Finally the wind has returned. Once we awoke to wind whitecaps on the Columbia, we knew our “curse” was broken”. We planned on heading to Bald Butte, but aborted when we discovered that the road has now been closed and gated. Now we proceeded to our second choice of Diamond Ridge. Unfortunately we found the winds from the gorge were not reaching up the White Salmon valley to Diamond Ridge. Now were forced to our third choice of Klickitat. The third time was a charm. Klickitat had plenty of lift. Sink was virtually non-existent.
At “Klick” they are building a house across the road in the cattle field. They have set up a large entrance gate/frame. We spent almost an hour shooting “limbos” through the gateway and having great fun.
Finally after several hours of this we were too wind/sun burned to continue (temp again reached 100deg).
On the way back to Hood, we diverted to the Dalles and let Dan and Ed try a few passes on the slope above I-84 and the dam.
We finally decided enough was enough and proceeded to the Clock Tower Ales in the Dalles for food and beer tasting....Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 06, 2016 @ 12:35 AM | 5,082 Views
Day 2 Sunday
Wow, it was a tough day. The temps reached 104deg! The winds gods did not cooperate. We still flew though. First stop of the day was Rowena Crest Viewpoint since the wind appeared to come out of the East. We had a little difficulty accessing the site due to the recent train derailment (the Mosier exit was closed). Since Larry was only with us for one day of flying, he took the first and only flight. After a few passes his Gulp promptly descended onto the winding road below the face. Luckily for Larry he was able to place it on soft grass just between the roadways. This was definitely the “highlight” of today’s flying.
After Larry’s lucky flight we decided to move on to Klickitat and see if we could find some alpine thermals. We caught some luck here. Lift was light, but flyable. Everyone got a chance to fly. Eddie, our NW noob got his first flight in. He was all smiles afterwards.
To cap off the day, we headed to our favorite Mexican restaurant for some Dos Equis’s and ice cream.


PS Larry just sent me two videos from our day at "Klick".

Amadeo fun (2 min 16 sec)

Day 1 Tom @ Klick (1 min 7 sec)
...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 05, 2016 @ 10:31 AM | 5,274 Views
Day1 Saturday
Our merry crew has finally arrived in the NW for our 2016 soaring trip. Only seven in our group this year. We arrived fairly late and their was virtually no wind. We ended up hitting Double Mountain for dinner and sealing the deal with some Mike’s ice cream. The wind report for tomorrow, Sunday, looks weak at best. Monday appears to be shaping up for a better day.
We’ll be watching the wind report and make a decision for Sunday's flying. It looks like we’ll be flying Diamond Ridge above White Salmon.