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Snakes and Adders by Andrew Gill

During July, we had our family holiday up in the Western Lake District, staying in a cottage in a little hamlet called Ulpha in the Duddon Valley. Every day when the weather was fit, Iíd find the time to have half an hour with my Thunder Tiger eHawk 1500 electric glider.

This year I found a new flying site on Birker Fell, over a peat bog with the dramatic back drop of Scafell, Kirk Fell and Pillar behind. One afternoon, I took my son Calum with me to assist / watch. I launched the eHawk when at top of climb something fluttered off. I thought it was just a bit of sticky back Velcro that I use for the Fly Cam but on a low level fly past, I realized it was the canopy. I had a rough idea where it had come down but with Calum in tow, I couldnít really go looking for it. The ground was very wet, so the next day, I returned to the spot by myself with flip flops and shorts so I could splash about in the bog to my hearts content. I must have spent 10 to 15 minutes splashing back and fore without finding anything when all of a sudden I was aware of a coiled up snake sleeping in the sun about 2 feet in front of me and it had a distinctive zig-zag pattern along its length.

Yes, I had found an example of Britainís only venomous reptile and I was on my own, in the middle of nowhere wearing flip flops. Suddenly the canopy didnít seem that important anymore! I carefully retreated back to the road. I feel very privileged to have seen an Adder in the wild; Iíve never seen one before despite years of hill walking in the Lakes and Scotland when I was younger. Iím just sorry that I didnít have a camera or mobile phone on me as it would have been a cracking holiday photo. Also, Iím now in the market for an eHawk 1500 canopy, if anyone has a spare one!



Safety Warning:    Beware the Tx Neck Strap

I was at Samlesbury and had four shakedown flights with my Chipmunk. All flights completed satisfactorily, with only an adjustment needed on the throttle, as I could not stop the engine with the Tx after each flight.

The procedure had been to back-track after landing and stop the aircraft pointing into the grass deadside, at the end of end of the pits where I was stationed. Place the Tx on the ground adjacent to my flight box on the grass, take a glove out of the flight box and grip the spinner to stop the engine.

It all went wrong after the fourth flight. I put the Tx on the ground, picked up the glove and caught the Tx neck strap with my foot. The Tx tipped over, opening the throttle and the model set off towards the grass. I dived and caught the model by the wing, pivoted around through 180 degree and struck my flight box. Fortunately little damage was done.

This accident was caused by carelessness and is a warning to everyone. Ė Be careful with those neck straps. Also be sure if the model is running and not restrained and you are not holding the Tx, to always point the model towards the open space.

Maybe I should have carried the Tx back to the aircraft and not place it on the ground in the first place.

Dave Womersley


Word of Warning - WOT4 E

14 Jun 11


would just like to offer a word of warning to anybody considering buying the new Ripmax WOT4 E balsa aircraft.

Having been so impressed by the Chris Foss WOT4 Mk3 nitro which I built and have flown for several months now I decided to buy the electric Ripmax WOT4E Balsa variant. My decision was based mainly on the basis that I wanted a medium sized, light aircraft that would be a chuck in the car and go, without the hassle of fuel, flight box etc and thought this model would be ideal for that purpose.

I have just completed building the aircraft in accordance with the Ripmax instructions. As recommended, I used a KMS2280/05 motor with Towerpro A40 ESC and 4 x HiTech HS81 servoís. What has deeply concerned me is the weight required to achieve the recommended CofG (70mm from the wing leading edge). The aircraft needed a whopping 210gms placed directly behind the motor. As the unladen weight of the aircraft is 1600gms it led to a massive increase to1810gms.

Last weekend was its maiden flight which was a hand launch due to the long grass in the field from which we were flying from. The trim proved to be fine but it struggled to climb and gaining any height was almost impossible. It was soon apparent that the aircraft was overweight and extremely underpowered, I did one circuit of the field to come back into the light breeze and landed as safely as possible to avoid a crash. Needless to say I was reluctant to take it up again as it was obvious that there was a serious problem. Having double checked to ensure that the aircraft and motor was set up correctly and ESC had been programmed correctly I was at a loss to understand why the aircrafts performance was so poor. At this point I started to search the internet to see if anyone else had similar problems. I came across numerous comments in R/C forums from people who had struggled to establish the recommended CofG with weight varying from 150- 240gms. This weight had such a severe detrimental effect on the performance of the aircraft that it had got to the point of being unairworthy. The majority of opinions considered that the materials used in the tail construction were too heavy and the overall design poor.

Myself and other individuals have sent a letter of complaint to Ripmax requesting that they make recommendations to rectify this product. It is obviously unfit for flight and therefore unfit for purpose. I shall keep you all posted with the response (if any) from Ripmax. In the mean time I would recommend anyone considering buying this aircraft to postpone their purchase until the matter has been sorted out.

Pete Stanton



Update 20 Jun 11 - Email from Ripmax


Dear Peter,

Thanks for the e mail regarding the excess weight of your Wot 4E, there is a printing error in the instructions regarding the C/G, the stated place is 70mm back from the leading edge of the wing this is INCORRECT and should be 90mm from the leading edge.
As you will notice a 20mm difference in the C/G will make a great deal of difference to the amount of extra weight that you will need (should require only 90 Grams) Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

Hope this helps

Regards Mike
Customer services

I'm going to give the new CofG and recommended weight a try and see how it fly's. Hopefully it'll be sorted.

Cheers for now,

Pete Stanton




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