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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
, it was actually gusting to 40mph, in fact, the wind increased as the
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
Dec 2017 - Something
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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............
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
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.
I have now finished installing the radio
gear and electric motor in the electric version of the Midge and it is
now ready for its maiden flight. However, the weather has been terrible
over the past few months, high winds and more recently the roads to my
local flying site have been impassable due to snow and ice. So here we
are beginning of March and things are not looking good at the moment but
I live in hope that sometime
be able to get this model into the air.
Initial range checks are complete and the
motor power seems ample with me needing almost two hands to hold it
back, maybe a little over kill on the choice of motor - but time will
I hope to bring you news and pictures
of the test flight soon.
Neil is coming up for some slope
soaring next weekend, so I also hope to bring news and photos of the
first flights of his new pink and purple.... midge.