22 June 2011

Papa Smurf takes in TOSS PSS 2011

The Two Oceans PSS 2011 event was blessed with light to medium conditions on the Saturday for the half dozen combat folk and three Sportsman's Light craft - who each got through two rounds of enjoyable scale type aerobatics. Kev's P38 stole the show as always and it was great fun to call the beastie through his flights as well have Kev's more erudite calling for my own flights with the hastily entered ME109 - thanks muchly to Jeff for sorting the required picture off his Ipad! Anton also benefited from some useful calling and placed his Impala in a more standard part of the sky instead of his normal brush the grass affair, to take second behind Kev.

Sunday started wet but was soon pomping and the Sportman's heavy lads got in to action. Marc's Mosquito kinked a wing and Christo's amazing sharkie P51 slipped out of the flat eight turn, something more tricky than one would imagine. Carlo maidened his brand new Spit and promptly took the win, along with the combat award, for overall honours!

Saturday night was normal pleasant Dixies dinner and Sunday finished at the Pizza Parlour in Hout Bay. Pretty much everyone involved got armloads of prizes, with yours truly also getting a DVD from Clowns and Papa Smurf pressie (thanks Steve ;-) for the traveller award. More detailed info will no doubt emerge from the formal sources but mention must be made of enthusiastic judge Kurt, Sergeant Major Bill and Chairman Christo, ably supported by all the ex chairmen Kev, Steve and Jeff. Clubs in general could pay attention to how this team operates.

Yup, I promised Kev there was no way in hell I would travel down for a Winter PSS event but I am now hooked after my second TOSS PSS event, even promising to drag Russ Conradt down in chains for next year's event, which the team are considering tweaking more toward a festival, than formal compo.

On a more personal note, while many continue to miss these magic events and the very special setting, I can only think about how ecstatic PSS fans Michelle Moratanus and Pete Milne would have been to witness same, so it was special to fly the Michelle built ME109 (thanks Dennis) in action and have also promised Pete (in spirit) that wing man Russ WILL be there next year with one of Pete's specials.

More on the micro laser track, Z22 Cape style

It has been traditional in past Hermanus visits to put together a foamy kit or suchlike during the couple of days pre the event, which oft meant an all night'er given the limited time. It was decided to return to similar ahead of the Two Oceans PSS festival this year but also rather go the option of the micro laser cut kits, which have recently proved great fun and reduced in assembly time. So to the Z22 pitcheron in slope form (also in e-power). 22 means just that, 22 inches only!

God daughter Aquina and I commenced assembly at mid day Thursday on 16 June, youth day, which is topical given her involvement in pinning, assembling and sanding the pre "gear and covering" carcass in the second pic (the ribs are all handily pre numbered). All built on a 30 centimetre bread board purchased for the task and donated to Mommy thereafter. Quite apart from the enjoyment of building something through the efforts of a youngster, the sense of achievement on her part was magic. That took care of the Thursday afternoon.

Her friend Brent joined us for the Friday session and his nimble fingers were a blessing for adding the servo arm holes (using his and her cigarette lighters to heat the wire and poke through the arm ;-) and putting the final bend to the pre bent pushrods - did I mentioned that the kit is complete in every detail, like the previous other two laser kits? Accuracy was scary good, especially in the way the completed wing slid on perfectly to the joiner / incidence control rods.

It was then up to Papa Smurf to gently complete the Solarfilm covering, anything heavier would likely have twisted the wings. The tailplane surfaces had been super glue reinforced after Aquina had sanded them to section, something quite superfluous given the clever ply supports.

Yes, the artistic fuselage shape is vaguely porno in being open to the elements but the manufacturer had originally opted not to carry the sexy shaping through to the closed fuselage bigger Z33 and Z55 inch versions, although this has now been addressed in the V2 kits. Folk were even suggesting an FL or suchlike over this one's nose area ;-)

The manufacturer has put a serious amount of thought in to this little gem. Only one example is the tiny magnet trapped on either side of the pivot rod - one then sands the root rib until there is a pleasant "slunk" as the magnet grabs the steel joiner end both ends and those wings are simply not coming off unless intended! The incidence pins float from the fuse rather than from the wings, as is traditional for wingerons/pitcherons - all floppy till the wings are slid on and then the tiny tolerances do their function and everything works to perfection.

I must at this point make mention of my bi-annual (no longer annual) trip visits to Andy and Alan at Hobby Warehouse. Andy patiently dug out all the bits needed for the RC gear, including robbing an indoor kit for two teeny servos and ferreting around for the Hyperion 250ma lipo ("I am a Hyperion man", to coin a Percy phrase) with JST plug I was seeking. Was a bit scary cutting down from two to one cell but I managed.

Whilst aware that pitcherons generally have their joiner/twister rod at 20% to 25% MAC (mean average chord), it was almost by hypnoses that one tend to aim for CG balance there rather than believe the presumably 33% MAC CG depicted by the handy little jig included in the kit (yes). This translated in to yours truly adding an completely unnecessary 5 grams nose weight, which resulted in the first two tests resembling lawn dart as the plane headed down the slope! To make matters worse, I had complete forgotten to check the pitch travels with ATV, so the craft pitched right every time I pulled hard up..... I am indebted to Kev and Mark for retrieving whilst we sorted things. One must remember that the tolerances are so tight that one spline on the servo arm translates to a helluva big difference.

Adjusting the down going left wing travel to 85% of the right wing's 100% sorted that and the second proper flight with 4.5 of the 5 grams removed was a real treat, thanks also to judge Kurt for the launch and encouragement. The little aerie was blitz and patently clear too much for teaching the two youngster on at the busy Chappies venue, much to the disappointment of the youngsters - I have to make it up with a Hermanus visit this year to teach them, I am told.... ;-)

For the intermediate flyer the aerie is a real sweetie and certainly a crowd puller, everyone came to have squiz at it, lying on the table. Anton Benning was quite captivated.

I am a very slow assembler so if you are looking for a one day build treat:

It is so low on tedium, even for the kids, that I am tempted to suggest to Barry Mirtle that he should consider including in his school science kits ;-)