Friday, March 20, 2015


Looking through photos the other day I found this one of the Rosendal Slope Site --- if it can be called a slope -- precipice might be more like it. The men of the Free State Gliding Commando are a fearless bunch.
I took it in 2006 on the twentieth meeting there.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

A good day at Barnstormers -- Keith Renecle

I enjoy reading what Keith writes. For me he captures the true spirit of aeromodelling.
Here he is at his best, sharing his enjoyment of a good flying day. And almost as an afterthought, passing on helpful ideas. A tip of the hat to you Keith...

Finally....... some really good weather for the morning to early afternoon. Theo and I did some really good flying, and I am especially proud of Theo Kleynhans who said that he really wanted to get his pattern a lot better today, so we put in a lot of good work. His old Eze-1 trainer with the MVVS .15 on it really flies well enough to fly a very good novice stunt pattern. When I say “old” it has sure done the rounds. I built it initially for my step-son Conrad to learn to fly stunt on. This plane is around 16 years old and it has done the rounds with so many people flying it through the years. Theo has re-built it a few times as well and has made a very good job of this work.

We had a few targets for the day, I brought out my .15 size electric stunt trainer called “Elec-Trick” that is very similar to the Eze-1 as you can see from the attached photo. I wanted to do some more tests in good weather to see how the power package compares to a .15 glow like the MVVS on Theo’s model. I also wanted to try a set of those fishing braid lines called Spiderwire. I read that the 30 lb braid is fine for the smaller models so Theo and I made up a set of lines for it. Once you can figure out the special knot to tie it onto the line clips, this works so well. We made the lines exactly the same as Theo’s set which are the standard 52 foot 3 inch lines. It flies just as well as the steel cable lines and is readily available at the good fishing shops.

So my targets for the day were met and the model flew really well and compared favourably to the Eze-1 with the glow .15 on it. We had a few  targets for Theo and firstly we wanted to get Theo to have a go at flying 2-up in the circle, so I launched Theo’s Eze-1 and then pressed the start button on my Elec-Trick and walked into the circle. Theo was apprehensive but I told him that flying 2-up is no big deal. Once we were both in the air, Theo walked around the centre circle perfectly. Both models flew at very close to the same speed, so we took turns in flying higher to pass each other. It was very successful and Theo enjoyed it.

Next target was for him to fly the vertical 8 which he had not attempted before. We went through it thoroughly on the ground and he managed to fly it easily. In fact he did a whole bunch of them first time up! Theo was satisfied at doing some nice patterns plus the vertical 8 and started cleaning up his model to go home. I told him that he should do one more flight seeing that he was on a roll, that he should have a go at a reverse wingover, so he agreed and filled up tank again. He did the reverse wing over a few times easily so I went into the circle centre and said “O.K. that was easy, so now have a go at the last manoeuvre, the overhead eight.” Theo then did exactly as we discussed earlier on and flew a couple of overhead eights. Wow.......I was so proud of him, and he did so well! What a good day we had! We really made the best of the nice weather!

It sounds like all of this was just so easy, but I must mention that Theo has put in a lot of good basic flying practice for many months. Even when the wind is howling he still flies with a definite purpose and that is to learn to steer the model in any attitude. He does that good practice method that really works, and that is to fly level for a few laps at a consistent height, and then fly 3 good inside loops, one over the other. They have to be steered well and the loops must not tighten up. You then do another half loop and into inverted flight for 2 laps at a constant height, and then you fly 3 outside loops. Once again all the same size and shape. Back into level flight and do it over again.......and again until you perform these loops either way really well and with confidence. This is like learning to play scales on a musical instrument. All of the pattern manoeuvres are just turns and flying straight, so this exercise is really good for beginner stunt pilots.

This is why I was totally confident that Theo could fly the manoeuvres he had not yet attempted, because he had done the homework and the actual shapes don’t make any real difference.  Like I was a good day today at Barnstormers! Well done to Theo! We are really looking forward to the stunt competition in April.


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