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New Techniques, A new Design, A New Model - Meet Midge. a compact aerobatic slope model. with future aspirations to go electric....

 

[First Flight]  [ Midge Mk 2]  [Kit Progress - What's in the Kit]  [April '16 Update]  [Update 2017] [Something Special]

 

[Midge Community]

Having flown my SmArt Glider for some time now gaining much interest whenever it has been put through its paces on the slope, I have been considering what model will replace the ageing airframe. I have been doing a little development work on the SmArt, trying to tweak its performance and I have also increased the dihedral which has improved the stability.

 

During our trip to the Long Mynd back in June (see the “ 3 Go Mad In Shropshire” article) I was flying the model in quite light conditions, but kept it moving around with little effort. I landed the model rather fast right in front of me, however, the wingtip caught a clump of grass and being so light, it spun round and landed moving backwards in to a rut further up the slope. Structurally the model is fine, but the abrupt and unconventional arrival had stripped both aileron servos. Whilst I have replaced the servos and checked the model out in readiness for the next outing, the SmArt is now getting a little tired.

This has spurred me on to make a start on a model that will supersede it. A model that is designed and built from scratch and not one that is a culmination of bits of other models, but which employs the best elements of the design of the SmArt and previous small aerobatic slope models that I have built and flown.


I decided on the shape and size of the fuselage some time ago, one that looks a little different and starting with the basic shape of the SmArt, I put a little bulge on the bottom so that with a slightly lower wing position, there was some fuselage that you can hold to launch it. That bulge made the model look a little like a Mustang. Not an intentional steer towards a scale shape but one that developed into what you see. The main outline parameters of the SmArt have generally been kept; Moment, Size, and I have taken some ideas from other models.


So whilst not intentionally scale it has taken on that familiar shape of a P51 mustang. Its stretched and much narrower than would reflect true scale, but it does have an aesthetically pleasing form that will be easy enough to mould. The wing is a similar plan form to the P51 as expected, but again not to scale. It's stretched to provide a higher aspect ratio and extra lift that will be needed to have a good all round performance as a glider.. . My design criteria also required its size to remained quite small. At a little over 1 meter (40" in old money) this ensured that it can be easily transported. Utilising plug-in wings and a plug-in tail plane means that it can be disassembled into 5 pieces and packed into a small box.


The fuselage plug was drawn and cut out of card to make sure I was happy with the size and shape and I offered this up to a set of wings I’d cut from a block of foam earlier. Happy with the shape and size, I then put the 2 pieces of 18mm MDF through the band saw to make the plug. Whittled this down further to give it the sleek aerodynamic appearance. I have also made the model to allow the nose to be cut off and a suitable electric motor installed for a small compact flat field model. this will be something to try at a later date.


The Plug was finished in my usual putty primer and polished and finally laid up to form the Fibre Glass mould, much like the process used for the “Genesis 2” model.


Using a new type of PVA release agent I was quick to lay up both sides of the mould, during which I worked out how I was going to gain access to the tail area to allow the model halves to be joined effectively.  I was very please with how the fuselage finally went together but I felt that I was going to need so much will power as not to crack open the mould too soon so I could see the first fuselage.


The next day, I planned a few domestic chores to keep me out of the workshop. Cut the grass, clean the cars……. However, by mid afternoon, I could not stay out of the workshop and after a quick check of the cured resin, I decided to open the mould a see the spoils of my handy work.

The new release agent worked really well and with little effort the model came out of the mould…. Wow!
After trimming the swarf resin from around the join, I was mightily impressed with the new shape. It felt very light even though it had 3 layers of glass cloth so I decided to weigh the Fuselage; an amazing 130 g. Gosh, I’m so pleased! I had made the canopy mould and used it to make a couple of canopies from glass earlier in the week so these were trimmed and offer up to the fuselage and it fit perfectly – Sweet!


Bringing the other component parts together, I think the shape and proportions of the whole aircraft look really good and what I had in mind when I first put pen to paper and started the usual doodling that precedes the formal design stage.


There is a lot more to do, in preparing the wing and to finish off the fuselage, but I am really excited and want to get the model finished ready for a RAFMAA slope soaring event in October. However, having sent the photos to Neil, I now have another fuselage to make. Hopefully we can have both airworthy by the time of the slope event to show off our new models. You never know, I may have a few extra fuselages made to take with me.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Watch this space for an update very soon
 

 

10 Sep 13,

 Here we are,  a few days on and I have a second fuselage moulded for Neil. My wings have been vac bagged with Obechi veneer and Glass cloth, which have come out well and have been trimmed. Before setting the wings to one side to fully cure I couldn't resist offering them up to the fuselage. but I now have a dilema!

Not that I was aiming to have a scale model, but by putting the two fuselages together, and offering up the wings to these, I now have another option for my deisgn............ An F-82 Twin Mustang!

So much to think about!

 

 

04 Nov 13

I have made quite a lot of progress on the new model since my last report in September.

 

As this model was designed to replace the ageing Smart model using similar aerodynamics I am confident that it will work well. However, in it's fabrication, I was also keen to experiment with some new building techniques, so I decided to set the old veneered wings to one side and make some new wings. Why? you might say. Well I am forever trying new things and I wanted a better finish, with less effort, so why not?

 

Instead of using wood veneer, I decided to vac form glass cloth directly onto the foam cores, using Mylar sheet as the medium on which to lay up the glass cloth which will also provide the surface finish. A little like a mould but one that is pliable to allow it to curve around the wing shape.

 

This was a big step for me, but something that I have been meaning to try for a while now. So, given that the wings are quite small, if I mess it up, it will not have cost a fortune. Start small, then work up to bigger things, I say!

 

With a new foam panel cut from waste foam, I did not know how much glass cloth to use, what grade of cloth, how many layers. So the first wing was to be an experiment. 1x 80g cloth and 1x 160 g cloth laid up on to 350 micron Mylar with epoxy resin and a carbon leading edge, all sandwiched together in the vac bag over night.

 

Once released from the vac bag, the wing panel was trimmed and left to cure properly for the rest of the week. The outcome was a really impressive wing; a really nice finish (like glass) and very strong. What makes this even more impressive is the use of a living hinge.

 

For those that are now getting a little confused..... I'll try and explain.

 

If you have ever inspected a commercially available moulded model, you will find that the control hinges seems to be part of the construction, no plastic hinges, no tape, no gaps just a nice hinge line.

 

The hinge is actually made from either Kevlar or Peel Ply laid in a continuous strip and is put in the wing as part of the glass cloth lay up. Once cured, a  "V" shape is cut on the opposite side of the wing to the hinge and the waste material removed. After which, the hinge line is carefully filed to remove the resin down to the Kevlar or peel ply. The best thing about Kevlar or Peel Ply is that it does not absorb resin. Therefore, once the surrounding resin is removed, a quick flex of the control surface, and the remaining resin cracks along the hinge line and you have a perfect hinge.

 

Having impressed myself with the experimental wing, It was time to make the ones that I will use on the new model. The wing cores were cut from blue foam (Pink in this case). Having installed the joiner tubes, I used a slightly lighter glass cloth lay up of 2 x 80g cloth and again another session with the Vac bag. The outcome is a really nice set of wings and the ones that I have progressed to complete the model. Using these lighter set of wings has revealed a slight susceptibility to handling damage, possibly because I didn't let them fully cure before working on them. But having sorted the living hinges on the ailerons, cut the aileron servos recess on the underside, there are now some minor indents in the surface finish, which I have had to fill, but I am still very happy with the outcome. The next set of wings will use an heavier lay up again, as I have difficulty in denting the first experimental wing. Lesson learned.

 

I have now finished painting the model; just needs polishing. The gear is now installed and the end result, I think you will agree, is somewhat pleasing and if the model flies as good as it looks, then it will be a mighty success.

 

See for yourself. More photos to follow.

 

CW

 

16 Nov 13   First Flight

The sight of the wind turbine visible from my front door portrayed a light WNW wind suggested that there would be many paragliders congregating on Parlick, but this was a little misleading on this occasion. The Slip road up to the base camp gate adjacent to Fell foot Cottage, was deserted except for one car, so plenty of space to park. The wind was indeed a Westerly, but it was blowing a gale. Suitably attired, I made my way to the Parlick westerly slope armed with the Weasel and the New Midge.

Once at the top, and after supplementing my attire with an extra fleece I prepared the Midge for its test flight. Range check was carried out and control senses checked and checked again. wind speed on the Anemometer suggested constant 19 gusting to 22 mph.  I did consider throwing the Weasel off the slope to check the air, but it was blowing somewhat, so another check of the controls and a gentle push into wind straight and true, with a little down trim for penetrating the high wind and Midge was racing away at a pace.

Boy does she go!  Slippery as greased weasel poo off a Teflon coated shovel.........

I put Midge through her paces, first checking the Dynamic C of G by diving the aircraft hands off, revealed a neutrally stable craft, it did not try to pull out of the dive nor did it tuck under. To my mind its balance was set up on the most rearward of C of G positions but very manageable, but I flicked the elevator rates in as it was a little twitchy in pitch. I always set up about 100/60% dual rates and also some exponential on the controls, to ensure that any control is appropriate.

Rolls were crisp and fast but can be slowed for a sweet slow roll. Rudder control was authoritative, again 4 point rolls proved better with lower rates on the rudder, but stall turns remained good with still plenty of rudder authority. The stall on lower rate elevator by progressively pulling back revealed not a stall, but a gentle nodding on the airframe in pitch. A quick dive and pull up to an agressive stall resulted in a straight benign stall with no surprises that was easy to recover from. Loops were true and pulling up at the end of a fast run to about 45 degrees, and pushing through a bunt was impressive. the full bunt (Outside loop) was also good, although given the conditions I didn't try for any multiple outside loops. It was the first flight so I think I could be forgiven.. I'll save these for another day.

The speed was impressive though, the model just ate up the sky. I had pre-programmed the ailerons to be raised to reduce the lift as a landing aid (much like crow braking) but this did not slow the model any with the initial set up. So multiple circuits were carried out further down the slope until I found the right attitude and approach for a high speed landing. A good landing in the reed bed allowed a sigh of relief that the model was down safely without damage. Definitely time for coffee, an infamous Crimble moment if I dare say. (Crimble moment defined on my Slope-dudes website).

The coffee and cake were quickly consumed and after taping a little lead to the nose to tweak the C of G forward and a slight reprogramming of the landing mode, the Midge was committed to flight once again. I had positioned the camera on the wall in front of where I stood, but not being able to manipulate the video and follow the model whilst flying, the resulting film just occasionally showed this little machine scooting past so fast it would have been impossible for the auto focus to track the model.

After 3 flights I am not disappointed, on the contrary. I am very much delighted and impressed with the flying so far. Indeed, weather permitting, I'm back up the hill tomorrow to get a better feel for the machine. Hopefully there will be someone else up on the hill that can help with some flying photos and a more close up video. Till then , enjoy the photo and the video - I think it gives an idea of the speed and agility of this exciting new model.

   

You Tube Video -

17 Nov 13

The weather gods were against me yet again, not without trying though. A light and variable southerly wind would offer a marked contrast to yesterdays flying and to explore the flight envelope further but this wasn't to be. As I got close to my local hill, I saw the cloud beginning to fall and envelope the top of the hill. By the time I reached the parking area, the whole hill had been covered in low cloud. Sure that it would lift in good time, I donned the walking boots and ventured forth and hiked up the hill. Once at the top I sat..... and sat..... had a coffee......... and waited more, until after two hours, I gave up and went home. Still, At least it was a good walk and we'll try again next week.

In the mean time, I will be going indoor flying, the weather should not stop me doing that!

20 Mar 14

I have been flying the Midge quite a lot over the last few months, when the weather has been kind to us, I mean not raining..... I have been really pleased with Midge's performance, so much so, I have now made a new model, this time with an RG 15 wing section, this will retain its manoeuvrability but allow for a wider speed range. Maybe not quite so fast, but able to fly a little slower, so probably a slightly better combination overall. I hope to fly this in the coming weeks which should allow me to compare both models and see just which provides the batter performance.

C U soon

CW 

29 Mar 14 - Midge Mk 2

Midge No 2 has now been finished. This time it has a different wing section. Whilst Midge No 1 (47) flies extremely well, I felt that it was particularly lively and very quick. Not a problem, but I felt that it would benefit from having a wider speed range, primarily to fly a little slower. With a desire for perfection, I have made a second Midge with a different wing section, one that I have also used on other models. This time I used a modified RG15, a slightly thicker wing, to the Mk 1 Midge wing section, that should allow for a greater speed range, making landings easier with a slower flight characteristic but still having the higher speed to push the boundary if required.

Well, theeday of reckoning arrived with a forecast of South Easterly, 20 -29mph wind and warm for a change. I made my way to the top of parlick on Saturday afternoon, the wind was Easterly, and having checked the speed with my anemometer , it was actually gusting to 40mph, in fact, the wind increased as the afternoon progressed.

Having carried out the usual range check and made sure all the controls were neutral and working in the correct polarity, The model was launched. A few clicks of up trim and the model flew straight and true. later I found that the CofG was actually 5mm forward of the position of the first Midge, hence the need for up trim, but this did not hamper the performance very much.

Having gain a little height I gentle applied the elevator to full, to check out the stall , not really a stall, it just nodded slightly. Having flicked the rates to full authority I checked out the stall again, this time it did stall  but it was straight and very benign in nature.

Loops were good, indeed, given the high wind speed, lots of sky could be covered and large loops executed - nice, but even tight loops with normal control were a breeze, with no sign of any flick, albeit, on max elevator authority (double the normal elevator movement, the model did screw out of but this was expected and very controllable.  Rolls could be made to be really slow and graceful or very quick. I mean, 1 and 1/2 roll per second or it could have been probably much faster. but counting is not so easy when concentrating so much :-) .

Having explored the flight envelope fully with inside and outside loops, tight turns, inverted flight required a little more down elevator than normal, but this was due to the forward CoG position - now corrected

I landed the model after about 15 minutes without any problems and then subsequently launched Midge No1 (47), for comparison. Definitely a speed difference and although a slightly different feel during inverted lfight very much a pleasing comparison.

After coffee and a Crimble cake, and having tweaked the CoG, I launched Midge No 2 (15 red) again. This time removing the up trim that I had previously dialled in. Inverted flight was better, less down elevator required to maintain level flight. Inverted circuits and tight inverted turns were good, loops and outside loops were a breeze. The top speed was not so extreme with this model until I flicked the speed switch. The programming of -2mm up reflex to the ailerons resulted in the model instantly picking up speed - wow ! I believe that it would probably keep up with its predecessor, but I will have to wait for a direct comparison until  I can get both models airborne at the same time. Maybe when I meet up with Neil down at the long Mynd in May, he is also making an RG15 version of the Midge.

With the light reducing and the wind gusting higher, I decided to call it a day and head for home for tea and medals, well pleased with the outcome of the afternoons flying.

Enjoy the  photos.

C U soon

CW

 
Midge Kit Progress  -  What's in the Kit
 
April 2016 update:
Almost every time I go flying I take one of the Midge models along with me and generally put it through its pace and it never fails to get other modellers talking. An outing early in the year saw Neil and I braving a very cold 39 mph Westerly wind on the LMMGA (Leek and Moorland) "mermaid pool" slope site.

Our Jart models were eagerly assembled given that these models just love the higher wind speeds, but Neil had also got his Midge assembled. Whilst I flew my Jart, Neil initially flew his Midge model and you could hear people talking about our models, especially when most people found the conditions a little too difficult. However, the midge just ate up the sky with no ballast and the sound of his model just gives such an sensation of speed which of course reflects the pace of the model when allowed to groove around.

Given such interest I also assembled my own Midge and launched it into the strong and sometimes turbulent conditions. Again, the model grooved around but the light wing loading on my own model meant I had to feed in a little down trim to get it to really groove around. I should have got the red Midge out as this has a much higher wing loading and would have given Neil's model a run for the money, but without the aerodynamic howl as mine is rigged for silent running....

Given such performance two of the gathering crowd were particularly taken with the models and ask me to make a couple of kits for them.

Roll the clock forward a couple of months to April, and I had two kits ready with the requested glassed wings rather than the normal veneered wings. I'd suffered a few problems with the initial fuselage when the new chemical release agent I was using didn't work too well resulting  in a totally wrecked fuselage mould. ( I might add, having contact the supplier and had the error of my ways explained to me, I had not fully cleaning the mould in the prescribed manner which resulted in the inevitable. However, a couple of weeks later I had a new and better fuselage mould ready, from which I have now produced some good mouldings.

Last weekend, given the good weather forecast for Sunday, I arrange to meet up with the Leek and Moorland stalwarts again, but this time with much more suitable condition to fly the collection of models I had taken along. Neil and I both turned up at "the Gate" flying site at 10am, with the locals gathering shortly after. I subsequently handed over the new kits to Mark and Dave and they seemed very pleased with the models, this sparked interest from the others that had turned up to make the most of the good conditions. Not wanting to waste any time, I left them to it and started to assemble my models.

The Charon models (Neil's design -2m aero racer) were first away testing out the conditions. Thereafter, the Midge models were once again committed to the air and put through their paces which seems to spark more interest given that two kits were being handed round and scrutinised.

Neil and I flew many of the models we had taken along. My Evolan Flying wing put up a good performance in the light conditions even when some of the more conventional models were having difficulty staying airborn, again causing much discussion and potential orders when I finally get a moulds made. Another model I managed to fly was my new Gold Cloud (100" thermal soarer) that I'd been asked to validate the kit and building instructions. Lots of laser cut balsa - an enjoyable build. The model flew straight and true with no required trim change, a really nice relaxing model to fly which performed very well on the slope, again causing much discussion given that it was only rudder / elevator control. the flying characteristics took me back to my Thermal competition days.

We'd had a really good day's flying and not wanting to waste any of the good conditions, we found ourselves the last to leave the slope, wanting just one more flight before the girls turned up to drag us away for a Sunday roast in a local pub- that was nice too!

Mark Ollier, one of the recipients of a Midge kit managed to capture a few shots of the models in flight which I am very please with and share below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos courtesy of Mark Ollier Photography

 

Midge Update - Jan 2017

 

During early Autumn 2016, I found myself in good company down on the Leek and Moorland slopes. On this particular day the wind was from an Easterly direction which meant we had to fly from "The Roaches", which was a new slope for me. Flying is essentially from the side of the road and whilst the slope is not huge, it does provide some good and turbulence free lift. I had taken lots of models and I flew most but it was a sad day for me, as on a previous visit to the Leek slopes,  I had agreed to sell both my prototype Midge models to some of my fellow club members.

 

It was a sad day in that it left me without a Midge to fly but it did give me reason to build a new one. Well its taken a little time to get it sorted with all the other projects I'veNew Mk2 Midge got on the building board, and the fact that I have had a couple of eye operation to remove cataracts - What a result, as I don't need glasses to fly my models anymore! :-) .

 

Well here we are early 2017 and I have just finished painting my new model. A similar colour scheme to the first ever prototype. This model is a variation of the Mk2 Midge with thinner wing tips ( always trying something new) - to trial a different and hopefully easier Mylar lay up. The build experiment worked well, with minimal work to smooth the tips and leading edge. I just hope that the flying characteristics are at least as good at the Mk2, possibly a little faster. So Mark, watch out I'm coming to race!!!!!

 

Anyway, during the painting phase I had a few problems with the masking tape which meant I had to correct and repaint some areas but the eventual outcome is, I think you might agree, quite good.

I will be finishing off the paintwork over the weekend and then installing the radio. So hopefully I will be able to test fly the new Midge along with my new Project X in week or so. In the mean time a photo to whet your appetite.

 

A week on.......

I have now progressed both the Project X and Midge to the point where they are both ready for their maiden flights.

The Midge paint finish has now been tidied up and lacquered and the radio gear installation is finally complete.

I had already got the programming on my transmitter from my previous prototype models so it didn't take much to adapt this to the new model. A little moulded lead was installed in the nose and the model balances perfectly at the 60mm point. I like to have a more rearward CoG on this model but others have found that they prefer a slightly more forward balance point (55mm).

 

The AUW of the new model comes out at a very respectable 1lb 14 Oz (850g) giving a wing loading of 16 oz/Ft Sq.

My first ever Midge Proto type (original Blue 47) was a particularly light build weighing in at 1lb 9oz with a wing loading of 14.7 oz/ft Sq. This had a 3" reduced wingspan to the Mk 2 and as a consequence reduced wing area so getting the model build so light was a really good achievement.

The Red Midge (15) on the other hand, was particularly heavy as it was built with a heavy glass lay up and different technique to install the wing joiner tubes as an experiment. however, can't remember what the actual wing loading was for this model but I reckon it was much higher that my latest model given that it seemed much heavier and also with the reduced wing area. I am now on a quest  to find if I wrote down the weight of the Red model so I can compare directly. If I find the detail, then I will compare and report back. 

 

I am more than happy with my new Midge. Given that I haven't flow a Midge since the beginning of Autumn, I just cant wait to get the model on the slope and get it flying around........

 

To finish off, I have made my new model a set of wing bags, complete with logo. Well, I've got to treat it nice and I don't want it getting damaged whenever I take it away with me.

 

I'll report back soon as I can get the model out on the slopes. but given the sudden turn in the weather.... It's snowing outside and that I have a couple of indoor events to attend, so it may take a couple of weeks to get it airborne. But I'll report back as soon as I can.

 

See you soon

 

CW

 

27 Jan 17

Having got particularly wet in the lake district yesterday and heard the rain hammer down on the window in the early hours I was pleasantly surprised to get up to a nice sunny day and a steady southerly wind. Always up for a walk up my favourite hill, I set out to go and fly the new Midge and Project X. During the short trip to my flying site, it was clear that the weather had dealt quite a hand overnight. Parlick and its neighbouring hill Fair Snape Fell, had also received a sprinkling of snow, but the southerly face of the hill was slowly turning back to a normal colour given the warmth of the sun.

 

Once at the parking area at the foot of the hill there wasn't much wind. The paragliders were inflating their canopies at the very top, but not launching themselves into the sky. It didn't take long to walk up the slope, in fact it was quite warm and the snow was melting fast.

 

A few paragliders had plucked up the courage to give themselves a launch, but soon landed again. My attempts to fly were very much the same, I had taken all the wrong types of models, and only managed to a couple of circuits with the Midge and X-1. But the Midge flew straight and well but couldn't do much more than straight and level flight and gentle turns and land where I could, retrieve and try again. I enjoyed the view with a coffee and cake before returning home, beaten by the weather again.

Hopefully next week will reap dry conditions and better wind conditions.

 

CW

 

Dec 2017 - Something special

 

There has been much interest in the midge model over the past year resulting in usual arm twisting to part with my own models. Always wanting to try something new, my last model had the addition of flaps with a 4 servo wing - 60/40 aileron/flap which works well to help slow the model down on landing. There are now two models out there that have flaps, so I am now trying a few more ideas on my latest builds.

 

I am building the Mk2 two version but this time installing an In-runner motor - yes, electrifying the model to see how well she goes, I'm very confident that this will be a success. The wings have aileron / flaps installed again to slow it down for landing with the deployment of crow brake. These are now glassed and ready for painting. I have CNC'd an epoxy glass motor mount bulkhead and this has been installed with a little down and side thrust. The tail plane and rudder have now been made and sanded to shape. . Just need to cover tail plane and rudder and then paint. Hopefully it shouldn't be long to get this one in the air.

 

However, I bring you news of another Midge that I am making, of the original 40" wing, given that the wing is a little too small for a flapped wing, the R&D trait in me has created something that is a little special......

 

Always wanting to try something new, I am now trialling a new modification, a split rudder / airbrake. A number of trial rudders have been made with various hinges and I have now finally got the geometry right resulting in CNC made Rudder halves with the hinge recess cut in, and epoxy glass CNC hinges.

 

The Balsa rudder halves were sanded to shape, glassed and put in the vac bag and trimmed once cured. The hinges installed and fitted to a rudder post using a fine steel rod for the hinge pin and the installation of 2 rudder servos and control runs.  A few minutes setting the controls up with a few Tx mixers and the results speak for themselves - a fully articulated rudder that will open proportionally using the throttle stick also full rudder control is maintained whilst the airbrake is in use.

 

 

 

 

The new model is now Painted, radio fully installed and balanced. Just waiting for some good weather to give it a maiden flight and check out the split rudder.

I've also weighed the model and comes out at respectable 1lb 13oz (840g) giving a wing loading of 16oz ft/sq which I am quite please with.

 

It's now back to the Electric version of the Midge to get this painted and ready for flight.

 

 

 

Oh the North wind blows and it brings the usual wintry conditions, ice, hail and snow but I was not being deterred from trying to get the new midge into the air.

A trip to my local northerly slope site, Longridge (Jeffery hill) revealed that the forecast 12 - 20mph winds had not been accurate. the distant wind turbines were all pointing the right direction and rotating at a pace, but the local topography was somehow changing the speed and direction of the wind on the hill. The conditions were also particularly cold with ice on the approach roads. during last years winter and visits to other slope sites, some of my fellow models were cocooned in Quilted one piece suits to stay warm So this year, having done a little research, I decided to treat myself to one of these paraglider suits. It must be an age thing, as I now feel the cold a little more than I used to. Wow, what a difference the all in one romper suit makes...... in fact having walked from the car with a haversack and three models, I was actually overheating, but soon settled down to feel very comfortable in my new attire.

I managed to have a few test glides on the relatively flat area behind the slope of both the Midge and my new Moulded X2 to ensure that the trim was set about right but could not risk launching them off the slope. I did try out the conditions with my 2m scale Fox, but conditions were light and variable and it took all my knowledge of the hill to keep the Fox flying for around ten minutes before the wind shifted in direction and was forced to land further down the slope.

Thursday, 28 Dec, the very next day, the North wind was still blowing and the turbines going round a little faster. There was a severe frost outside with everything looking as cold as the forecast suggested. I decided to wait till lunchtime to get out and taking the long way to the hill (the previous day saw some of the untreated  country roads being a little slippery). I arrived at around 13:00hrs, Not many people had ventured out, so the car park area was almost deserted. The wind was indeed blowing stronger and was on the hill, well almost!

A biting wind and a threat of snow were not the conditions for the feint hearted and once again I found myself alone on the slope. All the mud on the path had frozen solid and the gathering cloud currently hovering over Lancaster and Blackpool looked threatening. Indeed, the Lake district mountains seen from my home town, Garstang were all covered in snow.

Not being deterred from my quest I proceeded to prepare the three models I had with me all for test flights. An old model that I had just re kitted out (Dude) was first away to check the conditions which proved workable. The wind was not quite square on the slope but it was good enough. The details of the test flight of the other model, the X2 can be found on its own web page, but this went very well. However the first real test fly of the day was the Midge. I was eager to try this out especially with a new split rudder for an airbrake.

Having had a few test launches the previous day that suggested that the model was relatively trimmed. I gave this model a good positive launch over the slope. The model climbed away straight and true and quickly gather speed. I soon settled down to checking the control authorities, balance and stall characteristics all were as per expected. The aileron need a little tweak to the differential but other wise I am pleased with the outcome. The airbrake indeed works well requiring a little coupled down elevator compensation, but this coupled with up going ailerons (Partial Crow) really saw the model slow down and reduce height in a very controlled manner.

Link to the you tube video of the New Midge SR

A couple of flights between Hail and snow flurries left me feeling very please with the myself, the X2 also performing very well in the conditions. I just need a decent Westerly wind to really try these two models out at the much better slope site of Parlick. I don't think I'll be wearing my new jump suit to walk up there though - something else I will have to carry for the ascent.

Until then, I hope you all had a good festive holiday and Happy New Year to you all.

Jan '18

I've just has an updated from Neil with a picture of his new Midge. He has, as per his previous model, modified the wing plan form and this time he has also modified the fin and rudder to make it a little more like a P51 Mustang.

His previous model, which he still has, flies well so there is no reason to doubt that this will be any different. He is now just waiting to get it out on the slopes. I have never seen a Mustang in Pink and purple though............ J

 

I have taken my Midge SR out a couple of times since its test flight over the Xmas festive holidays, but the weather has not been conducive to good flying, and again this morning, I was planning to brave the forecasted Easterly wind, but when I got up this morning guess what........ a nice sunny day, but No wind at all.

 

Well its back into the workshop to give it a bit of a tidy up and clean.

 

The reason for having to give the workshop a clean up is that I have just finished painting the New Electric Midge and a new Evolan - paint dust everywhere.... Both of these now need to fitted out with radio gear which I'll hopefully make a start of this afternoon.

 

  [Kit Progress - What's in the Kit]   [Suggested Assembly Instructions (.pdf)]

 

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