not every day that something really special comes along, but the more I
fly my new creation the more I like
So it began a little
while ago, while flying on my Northerly slope, Jeffery Hill, I was
having a chat with a great bunch of guys also making the best of the
North facing ridge. Talking about models of course, they were
enthusiastic of my collection of flying machines. It was through one of
these Rivington Soarers that I was put in touch with another of their
group, Mick, who wanted a new set of wings for his Jart. Well one thing
lead to another and during a meeting in my workshop I was invited to
Winter Hill, at the heart of the Rivington soaring association slope
sites and not too far away either.
A good North Easterly
was blowing and it was duly arranged to meet up on Winter Hill under the
TV Aerial mast. I wish I’d met up earlier in the day , as the conditions
were fantastic - a really nice ridge just a very short walk from the
cars and a good breeze. A lively bunch of modellers were already there
making use of the strong constant lift.
There were a good
selection of models on show; a Typhoon mouldie, Vulcan bomber, BD5 and
many more. One of the models that was putting up a lively performance was a flying wing called a “Poky 40” and I was quite taken with how quick it was.
A few of the usual questions of what is was and where did you get it saw
me researching the Poky on the ‘net.
A few weeks on and a
moment of daja vuwhen I was chatting
with another good friend from down in Staffordshire who wanted one of my
Evolans that he said had also taken receipt of a Poky from the Germany
The seed had been
sewn and it wasn’t long before I was challenged by a few good friends to make a model that
could possibly rival the Poky. I had been thinking of such a project and
as I already had a baseline from which to
work it didn't take long to make a start. So over the next couple of weeks using my Evolan model from which
to develop a new faster model, I formulated a set of dimensions and had
a selection of aerofoils to choose from. A set of vac bagged wings soon
took form and I made a lost-foam epoxy glass fuselage to suit.
A couple of new thin
Emax 3352 servos had arrived in the Xmas post, so roll the clock forward
to current day having been away for the festive holiday, I was desperate
to get back in the workshop and onto a hill to fly. It didn’t take
more than a few days to finish off my creation, paint and install the
radio. The model was taken to my local farmers field for a test launch
which confirmed the C of G at 18% was a good starting point and with no
trim change it was ready to get it out on to the slope.
The following day,
New Years Eve (‘18), I managed to get up onto Parlick with a nice
Westerly wind gusting 25mph. For most, it may have been a little too
cold especially with the wind speed and the associated wind chill, but I
was not deterred. I know the hill well and this type of model just begs
for some good compressive lift so I didn’t have any concerns with such a
wind speed for a test flight.
Having checked out
the conditions with my Evolan, I then chose to launch the new model.
Following the necessary pre-flight checks it was launched into the big
blue yonder. Not so much blue, a cloudy dull day actually but with some
good lift. I had dialled in a little too much reflex for the launch
which saw the model climb straight up, elevator style from the gentle
chuck. The launch reflex had been set up on a switch so having cancelled
this, the model just started to build up speed, faster and faster with
only a few tweaks on the elevator trim.
The C of G was indeed
a good balance, with little tendency to pull out of dives on its own.
Rolls were not as crisp as expected but were good but needs a little
more throw to achieve. The stall was non-existent through normal control
Tight turns were
surprisingly good with little speed lost and I was soon into the groove
so to speak. Loops, rolls even a bunt didn’t over challenge this speedy
little model. Not a model to take your eyes off while flying though, as
it covered a huge amount of sky very quickly but a model that certainly
gave me a buzz and a big, big grin!... A success!
A few passers-by,
ramblers making the most of the dry weather asked the usual questions;
that’s unusual, Did you make it, what is it etc, leaving me with a
dilemma…… what was I going to call it, so I have temporarily given it a
title of “Wotz@” (Wot-zat) for obvious reasons.
Well that’s it for
now as Breakfast is calling, and given that the first day of 2019 is
sunny with a Northerly breeze, I’m going to go to Jeffery Hill to fly my
new creation a little more, along with my usual go-to models, Evolan,
The first flight is
now on Youtube at the following link
The first day of
2019, saw a light breeze from the North, but on arrival at Jeffery Hill,
the wind seemed too light to fly. Even the Paragliders were having
problems getting airborne.
I did commit the new
model to flight and managed to fly it around gently for a few circuits
but the wind was too light. I tried one of my other models, but the
conditions proved too light also, so I went home.
The weather over the
following few weeks has not been too kind, given low cloud, rain but
good times will return and I’ll be ready.
In the meantime,
being so pleased with the model I am already making a plug for the
fuselage mould and have cut another set of wings with slightly different
dimensions to compare performance. Time will tell.
Happy New Year for
Roll the clocks
forward to what is now approaching the end of January, the weather being
pretty poor since the first flights, and the forecast to be much the
same for the next week but Sunday 27 Jan saw North – North Westerly wing
a forecast of wind speed between 40 and 57mph. Well it turned out to be
a bright day with sunny intervals and the clouds were moving pretty
fast. Not to be deterred, I thought I would venture out to Jeffery hill
to see if it was flyable. On arrival a couple of other modellers had
just arrived with a collection of foamies, SAS “Wild Things", I think.
After the short walk
with all my cold weather kit on, I checked the wind speed. The forecast
seemed a little excessive, it actually measured 35 - 49mph, although
during my first flight it seemed like the occasional gusts were much
stronger causing me to find a better footing to stand upright.
Once again, the
“Wotz@” just ate up the sky giving so much confidence in its
controllability and leaving the heavily ballasted “Wild Things” almost
stationary in comparison. I had slightly increased the aileron
deflection which improved the roll rate with no trepidation in flying
the pocket rocket around. The model just oozes confidence and one that I
just want to fly more and more.
I have decided to
make a proper mould for the fuselage and to try a slightly higher aspect
ratio wing as a trial to find out if indeed I have already got the
perfect formula or if it can be improved a little more. How? Well I
don’t know but it’s worth having a play with a slightly different wing
In the meantime, I am
wishing for some nice weather to go slope soaring again soon.
I can’t believe that it’s a little over a year that has passed since
this slippery design took flight, and a lot has happed since its
Making the fuselage mould has being
somewhat eventful with problems with tooling gel coat and release agent.
I used to use
Polyester gelcoat and resin for my moulds and have not had any problems
until I started the
Mould for this model. A few trials and tribulations,
I’m playing it all down a little......... its been a Trial!!!!! lots of
lessons learned and I now use epoxy for my moulds. Much easier to work
with, although a little more expensive, I think well worth the
investment and I’m now back on track.
I also decided to make a mould to
utilise an internal bladder system to help improve the fuselage
mouldings. The inflated bladder pushes the cloth into all the nooks and
crannies, it makes a better job of the seams and actually pushes out
unnecessary resin, which results in a strong and much lighter fuselage.
This technique was new for me, but a few you tube training videos later,
I’d got it sorted, and the added bonus, is that it doesn’t take all day
to get the two halves of the mould joined. From start of the lay-up to
joining now only take a little over a two hours, where before, a couple
of hours to lay up then wait till the resin has gone "green" before
trimming and joining. effectively an all day event which need a planned
use of modelling balloons to inflate from the inside of the fuselage can
be seen in the photo. Clear resin, with balloon pulling the guide tube
and balloon adding colour to the moulding until it is removed. Removal
of the balloon is fairly easy given a little patience. Gently pulling
the tube and the end of the balloon see’s it releasing from the internal
contours of the fuselage.
Once the resin swarf is trimmed from
the moulding seam then everything is good to go, with just the cockpit
and wing wiring openings to cut out.
Feedback from friends who had me cut
them a few wing cores, which they married up with a range of home brew
fuselages, has been useful.
Whilst the little 40” model continues to
blast around the slopes, a new idea that was suggested was to increase
the wingspan a little to see how it would fair against the original
design. A set of 48”
for a friend which were vac bagged with 100g uni-direction carbon making
for a really strong wing. He married these up to a homemade lost-foam
epoxy glass fuselage, which worked really well. The vtrst flight was
good and later putting 7 oz of ballast in it made for big manoeuvres
with the model retaining energy well.
Another good friend had me cutting a
set of 50” cores for him and I decided to put one together for myself as
well, which I planned to marry up to to the
first moulded Wotzat Fuz. Given the steer and a source of 100g uni-direction
carbon from Easy Composites, I also laid up the cores with a layer of
100g uni-carbon and 80g glass in the vac bag and with the addition of a
carbon leading edge, I have been so pleased with the results.
Without waiting to paint the model, I
cut and freed the living hinges for the Elevons and fitted the gear. 2
Emax 3352 MG servos for the wings and a 2/3 AF NiMh and mini receiver to
the Fuz. A little moulded nose weight and I had the model balanced at
first flight was in fairly light conditions which saw the model
buoyantly flying lazy figure eights with good speed. The following
weekend, had me travelling down to the Leek and Moorland slopes joining
a good crowd at the Mermaid pool slope.
Not a weekend for the faint hearted,
Initially the 50mph high winds measured at the top near the cars, and
slightly lower down on the ridge - a cold brisk 45mph. Conditions got
worse as the day progressed within increasing wind speed and punishing
gusts causing lots of turbulence.
decided to give the stretched Wotzat model an airing. A bit of a
challenge for its second flight,
but I had confidence in its pedigree and having put 170g ballast in the
fuz on the CoG, it was all or nothing. The model launched well and
proved a success. It scooted around in the turbulent conditions with an
air of grace. Loops were big and
whilst the roll rate had been improved with greater control input from
the first flight, I hadn’t got the aileron differential quite right with
the rolls initially a little wobbly. Its second
flight of the day was better and rolls much more axial having made a few
tweaks to the transmitter settings, but there is still a little more
tweaking required. I was really thrilled with its performance and only
the bigger gusts of wind during turns had an effect on its composed
posture. I was fairing a little
worse by having to go down onto one knee to stay upright in the
punishing conditions. I figure that for these conditions, more ballast
would help the model and I have prepared a 300g slug to fit in the
fuselage for next time we have a big blow, maybe a trip to the Great
Orme, assuming I will still be able to stay on my feet in such windy
To compare its performance, I launched
the smaller, 40” version into the extreme weather. 120g of lead ballast
added first, and as before, the launch was uneventful. The smaller model
was less effected by the turbulence and felt good on the slope. Not bad
for a AUW of 500g!
I am now finally putting a little
colour onto the new 50” model, it’s a shame to cover up the carbon, but
I do like a nice colour scheme; In fact, the unpainted model was at
times, difficult to see against
lower reaches of the valley floor. The current
weather isn’t conducive to painting the model though, not wanting to
make a mess of the workshop, requiring a dry fairly calm day to warm up
the paint, rush outside to put down the colour on the airframe
and rush it back inside into the warmth to
dry. Not ideal, but I don’t want to have to wait till the summer to
finish all the paint jobs.
A week or so on, and a break in the
very wet and windy conditions has allowed me to finish the painting
which I am quite pleased with. I even got the underside paint to give me
a carbon effect weave texture....
Now for more flying once the latest storm
Dennis has died down............