It was nice to see Tom Speakman, in the June issue, talking some sense on the subject of tip stalling. He avoided the subject of washout, which is usually advised to "cure" tip stalling - something which it obviously cannot do. All it will do is delay the actual moment until the whole model falls out of the sky instead of just one tip.
On second thoughts, that is not quite correct. One other effect of washout is to make an otherwise perfectly good model porpoise in high speed level flight. Despite this it is still recommended by some for pylon racers.
I am reminded of the time that a clubmate queried why it was that when he flew his 'Aeromaster' around in tight turns like mine, his fell out of the sky. On being told not to pull the elevator stick back so far, he did not seem at all amused!
Perhaps you know of a certain, aging, columnist in another magazine who constantly extols the virtues of washout as a cure-all for bad piloting. He also advises that you should store your nicads in a completely discharged state - something the manufacturers do not advise. It must be coincidence that he is also the only person I know who actually suffers from black wire corrosion. 'Vorsprung dork technic', to quote his favourite language.
The reference above to the clubmate with an 'Aeromaster' reminds me that he flies Mode 2 (he always was a glutton for punishment). In the recent discourse on modes I forgot to mention that it is common in some areas to refer to this as 'single stick' - despite the fact that any fool can see that the transmitter has two sticks!
Well now gentlemen, to the well informed (not a lot of it about these days, it seems) 'single stick' means a set-up where there is only one stick. It has a knob on the top of it which operates the rudder and the stick itself is known as a 'three axis stick'. Normally, the transmitter is held in the crook of the elbow and is sometimes referred to as a 'cuddle box'.
This always seemed to me to be a remarkably sensible way to go but there are few such systems available in the world and none in this country (there are specialist suppliers who can make you one, but we are talking about mass produced outfits). Despite its obvious attractions, few can afford to go to the trouble of obtaining such a system in the hope that they will like it.
I have heard the Mode 1 layout referred to as 'split stick(s)' or even 'two stick'. Having examined many of these I have yet to find one which shows any trace of a split in either stick and it has already been mentioned that Mode 2 transmitters also have two sticks.
At the risk of adding to the confusion, I wonder if anyone reading this belongs to that select bunch which flies what is known as 'left handed Mode 2'. I know you are out there and I feel that you may have the right approach, but please lets leave it at that, for the moment!
If there is anyone from a certain great newsagent empire reading this, can you explain your companies present vendetta against the very popular 'Motoring News'?
Of all the various branches of this great hobby of ours, the one which really takes the cake for masochism is the one practiced by the members of the BMPRA. No, it doesn't stand for 'Boys May Plant Racing Aeroplanes', it actually stands for British Miniature Pylon Racing Association.
If you are poised to ask the obvious question - no, they do not race miniature pylons - you will not be the first by a long way. The general idea is to race model aircraft around a triangular course. In other words, it is miniature air racing.
Now we all know that racing means noise - it is part of the attraction - but that makes suitable sites hard to find. Things are made even more difficult by the fact that the average FAI racer takes about a quarter of a mile to land in one piece. Mind you, many of the participants can land in rather less than that distance - and rather more pieces.
So, having got this small group of consenting adults some suitable private place in which to indulge their fantasies about racing pylons, we should be ready to go, or are we?
The problem is that most of the participants don't really want to go racing at all and it takes hours for them to get started. Attempts to get them to the site nice and early simply result in more time being wasted before something actually happens. Just as well that there aren't too many people interested, or they would have a major problem. Has it occurred to them that it just might be all the time wasting that stops anyone from being interested?
Like most competitive aspects of the hobby, pylon racing is administered by the FAI, which has a Pylon Technical Committee. The British representative on this committee has soldiered on for years at his own expense with no support from the BMPRA, either in terms of finance or advice. They are obviously so overcome with guilt at this that they have now campaigned to the powers that be to have him removed and replaced by someone who knows nothing about the system whatever. When (not if) things go wrong they will now have a suitable body to complain to.
It all makes such terrible sense really!
The June issue contained a letter from Adrian Rowe-Evans, Hon-Sec. of the LMA in which he claims to have detected a bias against large models in this column. He then suggests that the editor or the columns writers should attend one of the fly-ins, with the possibility that we might get hooked.
Personally, I have always been hooked on large models - and small ones - but it is my understanding that anything over 5Kg is legally not a model, but a small aircraft. Certainly, the bigger the better and they are easier to fly, easier to see, etc.
I have also attended many meetings where 'models' of over 5Kg in weight were flown and I must say that the average standard of flying is no worse than at any other meeting. My concern is the adverse publicity which would emerge in the event of an accident involving such an aircraft and which would involve all types of modelling in any punitive action.
Now, if you really want to have the ****s put up you, try a helicopter fly-in sometime. With little control of where the models go and no control of where people may wander with their transmitters, plus simultaneous use of all the available frequencies, you will never find a greater tribute to modern radio equipment.
Mike Whittard in 'Vintage Era', July RCM&E, "You won't find anything new in this column!"