Monday, 26 June 2017

A Positive Response

Over the weekend myself and Rob have received nothing but positive feedback with regard to the clubs future and the future of this blog. Currently we have a pole running on the blog to try and determine the views of the members but this pole is unfortunately open to everyone and I can not legislate against people voting who are not members. Anyway it gives us a good idea what people want.
As Will so eloquently wrote on the post below we had a very good turn out yesterday up at Itford Hill and this seems to confirm that a strong core of the membership want to continue as a club and continue to support the direction the club is currently undertaking.
We do still need to have a EOGM to discuss further various issues the membership needs to agree on and what direction the club needs to take but for now I'm sure that the club will continue as well as the blog.
Cheers guys............

PS. Will did mention we were chatting about a club visit to either the Isle of Wight or to go and see Steve and his buddies in South Wales. We had six people say they would be interested in going somewhere different to fly one weekend either for a day trip to the I of W or a weekend trip to Wales. Anyone else interested who didn't show there Interest yesterday (Scott, we have already decided that you will be going and are giving Will a lift - hope that's OK?).

Slope Soaring in Sussex - Alive and Kicking

Whatever the outcome of the vote on the decision whether or not to keep the club going, people voted with their feet (or wings!) yesterday. And what a turn out! At its height I counted at least 10 people and almost twice as many models – not all members admittedly, but it proved that slope soaring in Sussex is very much alive and kicking!

It was a fantastic day and a chance to rekindle that local, home-grown group spirit of comradery among fellow enthusiasts. As well several members (including Paul H, Rob S, Ian A, Tony C and myself) and a few locals, we were joined by ex-members Roger H and Marc B, plus Andrew L who has come back after a 6 months break - the newest member of the mouldy boys! It was like you hadn't been away a day Andrew - superb flying mate. 

Itford didn't disappoint. It's one of my favourite, if not my favourite, summertime slope in Sussex. A gentle meadow-covered hillside overlooking meandering rivers and rolling South Downs countryside, Itford offers superb lift from a combination of a decent breeze and some mega thermals hoovering up the warm summer air in the valley. It's a slope where mouldies really come into their own!

Would love to know what others rate as their favourite flying spots so we can make sure we build then into our regular circuit. Leave a comment below or in the shout box with your top spots!  

Speaking of flying locations, I'd love to try out Bo Peep sometime, as well as go back to Firle Beacon sometime - could land a jumbo jet up there so should take me less than the 16 attempts (including at least one touch and go) I needed yesterday to land the Ascot! There's also some murmurings of a possible trip to the Isle of White or Wales sometime, so would great to gauge interest in some flying further afield. 

Club or no club, formal or informal, it's up to us to decide how we want to keep engaging as a group. Yesterday, however defined, was awesome and, in my mind, there was an unmistakable club spirit on the slope. This is testament to its founders, those who do so much hard work behind the scenes, and everyone who comes along to foster this club spirit and make these meet-ups so enjoyable. I for one am looking forward to more days like yesterday - whatever we call them.

A big thanks to everyone who came along yesterday to show their support!! 

Quick update: Rob had an approach from a guy called Dave who had just started flying and lives in Lewes, so maybe we'll get another new member.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Decisions need to be made.............

Now the club has lost it's flat field and the level of Interest in slope soaring seems to have virtually dried up lately, myself and Rob were seriously wondering about the viability of the club.
Do we need a club  and do people want to be part of a club?
I know people are working in the background to try and find us another field to fly on (Rob S found somewhere, but the owner won't take the risk of us flying and Rob P is looking at a field in Cuckfield) but all the current members of Slope Soaring Sussex need to have a think and let us know their thoughts.
Either reply in the comments box below or send me or Rob S an email.

The club was set up to encourage and promote  RC glider flying but if there isn't any interest or passion to keep the club operating and as we don't currently have a field and the interest in slope soaring is waning then what's the point.

We have money in the bank and our constitution says if we wind the club up then the money in the bank would be evenly distributed between all current members or given to charity nominated by us all.
The decision is yours guys!!

See the poll in the top right hand corner. Its a straw poll but its a starter for 10.

We will have to hold a meeting in a few weeks to decide the general view and direction the members want to take.

Personally I am not bothered either way. I wanted to help grow the sport and bring people together to enjoy the flying together. If there is not the interest then lets pull the plug on the club and we can carry on as we are but without the hassle of having to do the blog, arrange flying venues etc etc etc......

Do you prefer frostbite to a suntan?

Hi all

Currently Sunday AM is looking good for Itford Hill with a reasonable W wind forecast.
Where are all my slope soaring buddies. I don't understand, in the winter we get a crowd of people out flying in freezing temperatures and horrible weather but come the summer and the slope is warm and dry hardly anyone comes out to play. Surely the better weather should attract people to come out flying and not scare them away. No gloves, no hats, no frozen fingers on the sticks, no howling gales, no goggles to stop your eyes watering, no thermoses full of hot tea!!
Give Summer slope soaring a go - you might actually enjoy more than the winter?

Make the most of the few months of warm weather we have because it wont be long before you will be back up on the hill in minus 5 with snow on the ground praying for better weather........

Remember this?

Sunday, 18 June 2017

When the wind stops and the heat rises.............

Myself and Ian went up to the glorious Ashdown Forest yesterday morning for some DLG (Discus Launch Glider) flying. Coated in Factor 30 and armed with a big bottle of water we where away on virtually the first launch. A broken push rod on Ian's new Blaster 3 meant a very interesting launch followed by a crunch into a gorse bush. Luckily Ian had his old faithful DLG in the car so he carried on with that.
The lift was amazing and the DLG's were lifted skywards to become just small dots. This new altitude has been aptly named 'Pauly Altitude' as Ian gets bored over 500' and then comes spinning down to a much more reasonable height.
We visited 5 car parks all with different facing slopes. No slope lift but thermals on every location visited. We managed to climb away from each car park which faced N, W, E, S & SW. The Southerly slope (the last one visited) proved the most difficult as the sea air was on its way inland and was cooling the air and killing the thermals.
Why don't more people do DLG flying? I appreciate it could be the cost but entry level into DLG flying is relatively cheap with my first DLG (Dream-Flight Libelle from Hyperflight) being around £120 and this did me for years. They are easy to fit in the car, simple to launch and could give you hours of soaring or just time on the sticks when all the other types of hill soaring won't have enough wind to fly.
If anyone is interested in finding out more about DLG flying or wants some advice both myself and Ian would be more than happy to try and help.
Invest in a DLG and you wont be disappointed!!

Saturday, 17 June 2017

What a difference 3oz makes

I was sent on a technical training course for work last Thursday. The training centre is in Sundridge, north of Sevenoaks in Kent. Fortunately my West Wings Aurora breaks down to fit discreetly into the car boot so I took it along for a spot of soaring over Ashdown Forest which I passed through en route.
The wind was a brisk 15+mph WSW. I threw the model up into the wind OK, but then it just went sideways and backwards and generally fell about the sky until it plunged into the heather. After a few attempts I dug into my spares box and came up with some wheel-balance weights which I fixed under the servos with a big blob of Blu Tack. The transformation was amazing; I suddenly had a well behaved model that went wherever I pointed it and could enjoy a half-hour flight off a very marginal slope. It's a curious paradox that making a model 3oz heavier actually helps it defy gravity and stay aloft...
Having had steering issues with this model before you can see from the following photo that I had moved the servos from the centre to the side of the fuselage to allow a longer swing of the rudder servo arm. The rudder now taps the elevators at the end of its travel and is reasonably effective.
Happy landings

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Just found this video.........

A few years ago myself and a few others went over to the Isle of Wight and we had a ball flying at various sites around the Island. Here Jack is flying my cheap Libelle DLG and enjoys a few moments climbing with a Buzzard.

Weekend 17th and 18th June

Hi All,
Whatever we decide to do this weekend, we have to be aware of the upcoming London to Brighton Bike Ride for British Heart Foundation on Sunday 18th
It entails thousands of bikes heading South through the heart of Surrey and Sussex then up Ditchling Beacon to Brighton.
Most of the roads will be closed Northbound and some will be closed altogether, so please bear it in mind if you're thinking about flying.

Also, Sunday will be Father's Day, (just as a reminder), so that might disrupt any flying plans people may have.

My suggestion would be to fly on Saturday !!!! (But that might not suit everyone).


Monday, 12 June 2017

White Sheet Hill Fly-in

Hello all,

Having just purchased a second-hand Carrera Draco from Bristol on Ebay, and what with my Brother-in-Law's band playing on Saturday night in Taunton, plus my increasing guilt at still not having seen my sister's new house (they've been there 8 years...) I guessed it was time for a trip to Charlton Adam.

Along with all of the above was the idea that I'd never flown from two local slope-soaring "Meccas" - namely White Sheet Hill ( and Crook Peak (

So, in no particular order:

My sister's house is very nice. Quiet Somerset village, pub inside 200yds. Sweet.

My Bro-in-law's band is very good. Stones, Beatles, Brit-Pop and light Punk. Weddings, Bar-Mitzvahs...

The Draco (delivered to my sis's house and paid-for in cash) is very nice, clean, no damage or repairs - but can you spot the deliberate mistake?
Or try this angle...
Hmmmm... no ailerons, no dihedral.

Unfortunately, the wing joiner rods are straight. The tubes through the fuselage are continuous and straight, so if I bend the joiner rods I won't be able to get them into the tubes. Not sure how to cure this one.

Suggestions on a postcard please...

I really _must_ stop buying models on Ebay sight-unseen for cash!!!!!

Lastly, I got to fly on White Sheet Hill. Didn't manage Crook Peak due to a rather late night on Saturday...

When I got up there I discovered to my delight that I'd arrived on a sport fly-in day. I got there at gone midday (see comment above about late night) and it was still going strong. A few people were thinking of leaving so Chris Lamming, the chairman of the club, took a group photo. I'd literally just arrived so I felt like a bit of an imposter, but photo-bombed anyway!
There was an extremely warm welcome and I'd recommend it - perhaps a club visit one day when there's another fly-in? Show them how we do it in Sussex... 

For me, early on a weekend morning, it was only 2h30 from Pevensey Bay, so much less from the Brighton area - maybe under 2 hours? The hill is awesome - equalling the best we have on the South Downs.

You may spot from the photo that I'm holding a blue and white flying wing. This is my old, tattered Spectre which used to be red and yellow seen below on the left.
The poor old thing had been getting progressively more tattered as the months went by and I kept saying to myself "I really must re-cover it soon". There were bits and pieces of covering and tape hanging off it and it was definitely affecting the speed and ability to penetrate in strong winds.

Well with the prospect of a fresh SWly on White Sheet I decided to go ahead and re-cover. Decided, that is, at lunchtime on the day before I was leaving home at 0600. 

Surprising what you can do if you're motivated!

The wind at White Sheet was 20kts, gusting more, and with the models' previous performance in mind I was a bit apprehensive about chucking it.

I needn't have worried. I learnt very quickly how much the tatty covering had been affecting it before. Suddenly it was a different aircraft. I no longer was falling out of loops, rolls were a lot snappier and the plane was generally faster and crisper than before. I really wouldn't have believed it'd make so much difference but was very pleasantly surprised.

Once again a great weekend's flying.

Lessons learned:

1) Really, really, _really_ stop buying models for cash, sight unseen!

2) The South Downs offer awesome flying - we are soooo lucky to live near them. But there are other venues - the Bwlch for instance. White Sheet is close enough for a day visit and is an impressive hill with a very friendly club.

3) Re-covering a model improves the performance markedly - I would not have believed the transformation. If you have one which needs re-covering - do it, you will be astounded at the difference it makes.

Cheers all!


Saturday, 10 June 2017

Newhaven Cliffs

Myself and Will met up with Rob for a session on the cliffs at Newhaven Fort.
The sky was a beautiful deep blue and the wind was just perfect onto the slope.
We had a brief flight to test out the conditions and get the feel of the sticks. Then I suggested we go cross country and walk the cliff path while we flew our models. It sometimes causes problems to walk and watch were you are going and fly at the same time. I only completely lost my model once and a quick roll on the sticks identified the model in the sky.
I walked to the end of the cliffs you can see from the Fort. I reckon its at least a mile away. Here is a little video of me flying taken by me with a phone in one hand and the TX in the other.
We had about an hour and a half flying until Rob had to make his way back. It made a big change to fly the cliffs - we must do it more often. If you wander along the cliff path there are some big fields behind with easy access so we should be able to hurl off the big mouldys.
Will enjoying himself!!

Thursday, 8 June 2017

The weekend ahead.

Hello all.
Looking at weather forecast it currently looks like a S or SSW for Saturday morning. I am very tempted to give the cliffs at Newhaven a go as its been ages since I last flew up there. Hopefully will be 15mph+ so should be good lift. The wind is due to swing SW in the afternoon but if you are tempted to go and try Mill Hill, please be aware that there is a music festival going on at Shoreham Airport and I would have thought Mill Hill car park will be roofed as well as the roads surrounding the airport.
Sunday is yet again SW wind. Getting fed up with this direction so not sure if I will fly Sunday or not. Depends how the cliff flying goes on Saturday.
I will confirm the details tomorrow night but I will aim to be at Newhaven Fort around 9.30am on Saturday morning. I will have to park near the bottom of the hill and walk up as my car wont go underneath the barrier.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

A good morning at Itford Hill, and two maidens...

Hi again all.

Seems I'm posting more here since I moved to Pevensey Bay than when I was a member, lol!

I got to Itford Hill rather later than planned on Saturday but Paul and Ian were still there. As I walked up (for the second time - I got 200yds up the hill before I realised I'd left my hat in the car...) I could see two M70's really going for it - the lift looked great and I picked up the pace as I walked up the hill.

50yds later with pounding heart and heaving lungs I was reminded of how unfit I am and had to slow down again...

 On my eventual arrival I was greeted by Paul and Ian who'd now switched to their big mouldies (Ian's was a Euphoria - sorry Paul didn't remember what yours was) - both fully ballasted and showing how these very slippery aircraft can conserve energy and momentum. Awesome, huge loops and stall turns were the order of the day and I felt rather sheepish as I got out my trusty old Stargazer II - bless its little cotton socks. This was the first flight after I'd reattached the tail. Yes, all of it, the whole tail... see my previous post.

Amazingly she flew pretty straight and pushed out into the lift with no big surprises, just a lttle down trim and right trim. I remembered the old saying - "if at first you succeed, try to conceal your look of complete astonishment..."

I then proceeded to have a lot of fun with Ian and Paul - they were charging around with their mouldies - and shortly afterward with their M70's - while I stooged around trying to chase them (ahem...) and/or avoid them. The conditions were marginal for the Stargazer, if I fed in some up-trim I could actually fly backwards!

Paul was on FB Live for some of the afternoon - search him on Facebook and scroll down his posts to see the video, or try this link...

The day before, I'd maidened my Sirocco, bought second-hand on Ebay. This arrived in a terrible state having not been packaged properly but I was never able to track the blighter down again. Both wings had holes punched in the covering where the fuselage had been packed alongside them with no padding between. Not evident from the photos, the fin was seriously off-vertical and I had to cut that off, straighten it up and install a new rudder-post to keep it that way. Both the rudder and elevator had required repair but I knew about those.

You can see from the photo I don't have any yellow solarfilm...
In the end she was ready to go and on a very windless, hot and humid Friday I went up to Butts Brow to try her out. There's a long field along which you walk to get to the main slope and this is flat and level enough for some nice test-glides. The CofG was much too far forward so I swapped the Rx and battery in the fuse. This brought a much better flight and I tried her off the back of the slope (the wind being from that direction). In hardly any lift she gained some height and I could see she'll be a great thermal ship or on the slope on a calm day. 

Unfortunately I discovered I couldn't turn left, but only right, which made for a slope-bottom landing (my second one recently!). A nice, hot, humid walk later I decided to call it a day. Turned out the servo had stripped a gear - I was lucky I could at least turn one way.

All in all a successful couple of days' flying.

A word to the wise - when buying on Ebay, make sure you ask the vendor the appropriate questions - who did you buy it off, has it ever been repaired, are the wings straight and unwarped, are the tail surfaces vertical/horizontal etc. etc. you probably already do, but I was a little naïve and just trusted the other bloke was honest...

Cheers all.


Friday, 2 June 2017

Weekend Forecast (3rd & 4th June)

Saturday : WNW -W @ 13 - 20mph Cloudy
This would be good for Itford Hill

Sunday : WSW - SW @ 14 - 23mph Cloudy
This would be good for Mill Hill

For me personally, I aim to go flying on Saturday AM and currently it looks like we will be flying up at Itford Hill tomorrow.

Hopefully I will be able to confirm the location and time a little later today.

9.30am at Itford Hill car park (bottom of the hill). If we are not by our cars we will meet you at the top.