Tuesday, 30 December 2014

A little bit of unwrapping

If Christmas is a time for unwrapping then the latest pictures of the Willow and Merlin Builds are quite appropriate.   I’ve already written about the improved spars but here arre a few pictures of the lay up inside the wings before joining.
  I’ve always enjoyed seeing these shots ever since I’ve been flying- there’s a lot of carbon for a standard model in there!
  See you all in 2015!


Monday, 15 December 2014

Antidote to Christmas shopping

  Blue skies, a light breeze and my repaired Willow 2 remaidened- sometimes the enjoyment of simply flying is fantastic.  Meeting up with some flying mates just topped things off- thanks for the pictures guys!
  The Willow2 fuselage took a beating at the Welsh open, 2 re-flights and 3 nights out the cause.  My repair is by no means invisible but she did fly off straight and that’ll do for me!  It’s the first time in a long time I’ve flown with no ballast, the W2 still covered the sky really nicely and made spotting what lift there was easy.
  Flying the Merlin Back to back with the W2 was an interesting comparison. I’ve always loved my Wizard Compacts, the Merlin is reminding me more and more of the Wiz as I slowly tweak the set up.  I really love the look of the top of the wing now the horns are at skin level.  But for easy responsive flying and putting a smile on my face- love it
  The problem is that the new Merlin at home is calling me.  I’m not sure if the new lengthened Joiner and bagged spars are calling or just because it looks gorgeous.  Anyone want a Merlin and I build this oneJ






Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Getter better and better

  It’s great to here that the Willow 2 flight reports are going so well in the US.  Shows just how tough our models are! http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2161038&page=4
  It looks like the latest batch of models is being slowed by the Christmas post.  The new Merlin development with longer joiner as well as the wrapped spars could be the strongest model yet.  Ready to be hurled off a slope in just about any conditions I can handle standing there myself!
  I'l take some more pictures when the box finally lands




Tuesday, 11 November 2014

New building Pictures

I love getting shots of the models in production and the steady improvements and changes we’re making.

  The Merlin has always been the toughest built model, as it was designed for my own sports flying and racing!  The new lengthened joiner feels like it’s come just in time for the winter winds.  I don’t think we can get much tougher.


  Internally too Zhou is getting very excited by his spar wrapping.  I’ll have to invest in some tungsten to test these spars out!


  T9’s models are about ready and will come with the model name neatly painted on.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Southern Winter league 1

  What a blast Sunday was on Whitesheet for round 1 of the Southern winter league.  Before the flying it’s quite an undertaking to host 4 rounds of the winter league and thanks have to go to Gromitt and the Cubitt Dynasty for making the league happen.  The standard of flying has real come on since the start of the winter league and the turnip pickers are becoming a force to be reckoned with.

   Martin Drewitt won round after round with his Pittbull, flying a very fast and smooth style.


  it may be fast but it's still Pink Martin!




  It was fantastic to see John Philips arriving with his brand new Willow 2 for a ‘trimming out and tuning race’ and even better to see the model go so well and pick up it’s first round win.  I’ve no doubt that the Willow 2 is going to deliver many more round wins to come.


  The race had the look of a vintage rally at one stage, Phil Taylors Fletcher and team Cubitt both campaigning Falcons- a model doeesn’t stop being fast because it’s more than 12 months old!
  Some new faces were at the comp as well, including Neil Rodgers flying my old Merlow, having fun racing is what it’s all about.

Martin's winning smile

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Meeting up on the road

  It was great to see my old friend Andy Ellison for a couple of days of flying and catching up.


  Day 1 was perfect timing- a day’s playing on Whitesheet and a chance to trim out the new Merlin- my favourite ‘sports model and racer’.  I should have the hang of the Merlin by now.  The only change with the other models is the new lighter stiffer boom construction and the internal controls on the wing.  The Merlin went straight from my hand and ate up the sky in it’s usual way.  It really reminds me of my much loved wizard Compacts and had replaced them very well in the fleet.

  Thanks for the picture Andy!
  I’ll down load some more pictures later but it was great to see 8 modellers at Whitesheet on a Monday- I think everyone in Wiltshire must have been on part time working.  I know Andy and Daniel’s Freestyler and Willow would go well and be pushed but I was impressed with the way that Dan threw Vagabond about.



  One toy that came from the back of Andy’s car was a D130, I’ve been around a number of gliders of this span but nothing quite like this.  38lbs of ballistic missile that Andy had rescued and was showing around the country.  The D130 wasn’t flown- we did have a who can hold it up contest!


Little grommit and his D60?
  Day 2 and Andy took Dan to fly my local ‘Wiz cliff’ in Exmouth- They flew off the promenade next to the car and on the  path on the way up- you have to have some fun!


  Fish chips and great to see some good friends!

Friday, 10 October 2014

Parts for Welsh Open repairs

  It's a happy day (as well as Friday).  After my damage at the Welsh Open I resisted my usual temptation to bodge up a quick repair on my Willow 2.  Instead I've waited for some new parts and a new fuselage to make a Jig out of.

  I've just collected a car filling box from Parcelforce and so howpfully next week I'll be getting down to some repairs.  It also means that as well as some Willow 2 models I have a spare joiner to fill with lead.  The plan is that as the Willow 2 so rarely flys un ballasted I might as well fill the joiner with 300g of lead.  This should help to get the maximim ballast capacity up (although I rarely use it all) and make life that little bit easier on the slope.

  If the repiar doesn't look too ugly I may post some pics.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Welsh Open 2014

  After a couple of days to catch up on my sleep it still has me smiling and wincing to think of the race.  Racing on all 3 days was just good fun.  Racing the Willow 2 each day felt great- this model really is up there with the best of the euro models!  Day 2 showed the hugely variable air but when the air came my way the Willow took off and took the lead in the round (thanks Knewt).
  Some less than perfect flying by me at the end of day 2 saw me slip down into the 20’s but this was as much to do with the further rise in flying standards.  Particularly from places 10-25, the number of pilots now who can rip up a round win keeps on growning.

  Mid way through and it's worth mentioning the first GBSRA AGM, well doen to Martin et al for setting up the organisation and chairing the AGM.  An Ideal forum for all slopers to drive OUR sport forwards.
  Day 3 was by far the brightest and on round 2 when I launched into some big air it had me doing the ‘don’t mess it up chant’ and team mate standing up at base A to make sure he got it right- unfortunately this pulled the cable out and I had to scrub.  On the Wrecker this is a long old walk and my air was gone by the time I got back.  Lack of sleep or focus and landing the re-flight damaged the Willow and I was on the spare.
  2 rounds later and a strange decision from the buzzer men to swap over in the middle of another run again pulled the cable out- was the air fast? The next pilot went sub 40!  It’s tough to knock guys helping out buzzing but perhaps only change over between pilots?  I’ve never had this happen before and to have it happen twice in one day was a test.
  With the usual suspects flying incredible smooth courses, the 40 pilots does give you a chance to look at the other models flying.  Andy B and his Radical looked elegant all weekend with his reversals.  The Spanish Viper model looks stunning but I was a huge fan of the way Daniel flew his Cross over.


  Generally a great weekend, with an element of what could have been but knowing that I can.  Stephan’s win was a tribute to his ability not to let the bad air drag him down as much as using the good air- a Class act.  Exactly how and why the buzzer supremo on the last day managed to relive himself of his duties in order to take pictures is ultimately only know to Mr Evans.  To all those who helped and AJ who dedicated his weekend to CDing all I can say is thank you!

  Can't remember what Martin Flew



Scott Took on Bridgend and lost- he just can't remeber how!


We all mucked in- the Dark Lord even cleanig his own model


Tony Livingston was only a suprise 3rd place to those who haddn't seen him at Whitesheet over the past 18 months.


Monday, 15 September 2014

A night on the Beer

A night on the Beer.
  I wouldn’t like to call it ‘training’ for the Welsh Open but the recent easterlies have given me the chance to re-maiden my Willow 2 over the cliffs at Beer.  The new Willow 2 wings and their internal horns looks pretty stunning to my very biased eyes.


  Launching a model off a cliff in light air is always a bit of a nervous one for the first flight but she went so well I was grinning away.  The sea lift was as smooth as ever so I could try out a few different turns and putting the willow back in the compression as I wanted to.- I really need the practise


  With the light fading for the last flight my camera didn’t do the sun setting over the cliffs justice, but you can’t knock the slope!

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Fame and a review

  Thannks to Andy Ellison and the RCM&E for the Willow 2 review and comparrision to the original.

We've certainly come a long long way together over the past 5 years!

  I have 2 models in stock- perfect timing!




Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Merlin F3F for sale

  I'm not sure what happened to the  last post about this but the Merlin F3F is still here and for sale.

New in Box and in the Red/white/blue scheme for £425 shipped in the UK

Monday, 25 August 2014

Fitting the new Willow 2 wing

  A wet weekend so it’s given me time to post a couple of pictures of my new Willow 2 wing fit out.  A change with all the models now are the glass horns.  Really didn’t take any sanding or fitting to fit the push rods.  I fitted everything out side the wing to make life easier.

  I glued the horns into the wing so the top of the clevis were just proud of the wipers.  It just needed 5 minutes with a needle file to make sure the controls moved freely.  The wing looks stunning with everything internal- and absolutely no slop.




  The W2 wing is deep enough for the airtronics servos I like.  With the clevis using the inner hole on the servo arm the flat servo cover fits perfectly, giving a smooth finish to the wing top and bottom.


Sunday, 17 August 2014

Willows out of the box!

I've been getting downn to building my own new Willow 2 wings but I had to take a few pictures of the yellow Willow fresh oout of the box.

  Yep, I know the willow 2 better than anyone but just how this model came together really really impressed me.  I'm blown away with what the manufacturer has done, over 4 years of working together, developing our models but this is the biggest wow I can remember. 

Now to find a goood pilot to fly them......





Thursday, 14 August 2014

SlopeGlide and new toys

  A weekend at Slope glide and it was great to see Martin and Joel put their models through their paces.  Tight courses flown with a positive G maintained really showed the way to do this sport.  A special mention has to go to Martin who’s puncture, late arrival and having too walk up Mickies with his models and part of a course didn’t slow him down- Joel carried the clip board!
Stefan and his Jaz looked great all day


  There’s nothing like race conditions to get your model properly and by the end of the race My Willow 2 was really impressing me.  The straight line speed of the Willow has been impressing me for months but with the CG now back at 106mm she was turning really well.  The Willow 2 managed to keep it’s fantastic handling and kept on being so easy to drive around the sky with out a hint of biting me back.


  Coming home and I got to collect a box of new Willow 2 models.  I have a new tail and wing for myself in this box.  I’m tempted to do a build blog because the quality of these models is simply stunning.  The elevator is stiff, light and strong but the wings, with the next flush control horns a works of art.  I’ll be getting the new up-graded Willow 2 in the air very soon.

Friday, 1 August 2014

An Evenings fun

I’m pacing up and down waiting for the new Willow 2 batch to arrive.  One of the sets of new wings are going to be mine (still a couple of the willow 2 models available at £550).
  A summer evening’s flying was called for and so I found myself at Peak Hill being spoken to by a strange local  about his flying botched job of a model.  I’ve never really ‘got’ Peak hill, it’s a slope which is always given as an answer to ‘I’m in Devon where should I fly’ but it’s easily described as Whitesheet with a shallower slope and flint rocks liberally scattered across it.
  As the wind was dying off I didn’t fancy the Atlantic as my land out option.  The Willow 2 was launched, a glance at my watch soon told me I’d been enjoying the variable lift for nearly an hour.  The simple tail up/wing up signs of lift made spotting lift simple and the Willow’s handling really makes it easy to put it in the lift.
  My old Sting gave me hours of flying in lift tight lift and my W2 really reminds me of those flights, a different hill and some time ago but it does seem faster.  I’m not convinced it’s great practise for Slopeglide but a warm summer evening’s flying can’t be a bad thing and I think I am starting to understand Peak Hill!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

New toys nearly here!

  After battering my Willow 2 prototype at the nationals a few weeks ago my new wings and tail should be here before Slopeglide.  I think the new flush horns in the wing and improvements to the tails look stunning but I’ve not been able to keep one of the models for myself.  It has to be a good excuse that I shouldn't be flying an old version of the Willow 2?
  The sun’s shining down at the sea side so I’ve had the chance for some cliff soaring in the summer breezes and slermaling at Whitesheet, I’ll download the pictures when I get the chance but Willow 2 has really performed well and much better than I expected with such a thin section.
  I still have a real soft spot for my Merlin, for throwing around fun it reminds me of my Wizard compact and that has to be a good thing!

Monday, 30 June 2014

Sunshine at Whitesheet

  It s what summer days are meant for! Sunshine light breezes and enough thermal activity to keep you interested in launching.
  It was my first time out with the Willow 2 since the nationals and her first thermalling day.  I needn’t have worried, her handling more than made up for my thumbs and the controls remained crisp.  I was really pleased with how well the Willow reacted to lift and once found she took off really nicely.

  The warm weather and a good number of pilots, brought out by the Somerset Trophy, meant that I got to do some good model watching and catching up with people.  John Philips was test flying his Pike Precision- a lovely bit of kit made to look even better in the air
  The light winds also encouraged some blasts from the past like Jess Nicols to come out to the slope- with a 5 m Alpina electric to Maiden.  Some trimming still to do when I left but, in glide model she could really cover the sky.

  Seeing an old Algebra flying was fun- I used to fly one 25 years ago.


  Perhaps not the best day to practise pumping starts of F3F set up but a great days flying for exactly the same reasons.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

New Willow 2s have arrived!

  A box of new Willow 2s landed this week.  When My prototype was made I made a wish list of the thigs I'd like to tweak and improve about the model.  Opening a package up you always winder if the suggestions have worked and which ones have been done.

  Simple with these- all of them and oh yes they've worked.  There's not a model for me in this batch- I can't wait for mine to come in a few weeks.  After managing to miss the heather of yorkshire and smacka  rock I think I'll just have to have one!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Nationals 2014

  From a very wet and frustrating Saturday to a tricky fun and fast Sunday that got

us to 10 rounds I think.  Thanks have to go to the organisers, John Edison Martin and their team at fantasy weather.com – you just can’t change the weather.  Or friends from Scotland enjoyed possibly their last visit to the nats!

  The southerly bowls at the HoH is one where I don’t think I’ve ever had a great deal of success and with a real lack of practise I couldn’t keep up with the consistency of the big lads.
  The Willow 2 really showed me that as well as it’s excellent construction quality it responds to good air on the course and accelerates fantastically.  I know my thumbs let me down and this was shown by my ability to miss the miles of heather and find a dirty great rock on landing.  My set up tweaks had to wait and the Merlin launched.  The Merlin has to be one of the most fun and fastest model’s I’ve flown so it was no hardship to be flying it.
  Looking around the pits on Sunday I was reminded of the 2009 nationals on the same slope.  A field dominated by Skorpions and the first Freestylers.  In Similar conditions 5 years on, not a scorpion on sight.  It felt that the models were going faster and there are certainly more pilots going faster, there are certainly more pilots going much much heavier.  Ballasting was a tricky one if you weren’t EMing, the air’s buoyancy did seem very variable.


  Bucking the trend and really showing that it’s about maximising the model you have was Mike Shelim and his Sting, 6 years of racing with a second hand model and he still achieved 17th place only just 1 behind Richard Bago, who would race his Freestyler when Dave Wright wasn’t looking and one of his Needle’s when Dave lookedJ.

  The Thuroly good Greg gave us another picture for the collection of Dark lord at the nationals.  With so many summer races it's good to have the chance to see some old friends.
  Styles may have changed but those pilots best able to put the model where they want still came to the top- congratulations to Mark Redsell on his overall win- the own design category was easy!

Friday, 6 June 2014

a bit of fun

Saturday's forecast isnt great but there was time for a sports fly on friday. 



Thursday, 5 June 2014

Off to the nats!

It must be that nats time of year, no wind to practise but the willow and Merlin are ready to pack and the alarm has been set for too early in the morning.  The models I know are more than capable but I'm not so sure about my thumbs!

  Excuses to come and with a little bit of luck some pictures each night.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Storm flying

  Sorry, no pictures from the weekend but after flying the my new Willow 2 in such light conditions last week, the chance of flying in the big winds we had this weekend couldn't be missed.

  Not properly set up and using about 800grams of ballast in winngs blowing from 25-45mph probably wasn't the cleverest thing I've ever donw but wow was it worth it.  The Willow 2 was away straight and then I couldn't believe the progress I was making around the sky.  The turns are getting better with each tweak but in a straight line- that even i can't mess up, she accelorates and shifts like nothing else!

  I am very biased but I didn't half have a smile of my face coming home from the hill!

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Willow 2 Maidened

  I’ve been pacing up and down getting ready to maiden the Willow for a while now and Sunday gave me the chance.  A busy Whitesheet in the sunshine but very light air was my chance to maiden the Willow 2.  Once the model had been inspected and approved by just about everyone there she was quickly into the air.

  Even with the lack of set up it she shifts!  As I improved the set up through the morning the Willow 2 just got better and better- co-pilot wanting his lunch brought a halt to things but its clear that as well as being built to an excellent atandard the Willow 2 can accelerate better than any model I’ve flown, give her a sniff of lift and that tail coes up..  Definitely more set up to go before the nationals in June but I can’t wait.


  It was great to see Whitesheet so busy, it’s not so long ago that Whitesheet seemed to have a real lack of flyers.  I don’t think that there’s a better place on the main land to enjoy a day’s flying in sunny light conditions.