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.
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.
Update 20 Jun 11 - Email from Ripmax
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
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,