Friday, 31 January 2014

Flying the Merlin

Been really frustrating not been able to get much stick time to work as closely on the Merlin setup as I would normally like with a glider, but after the first couple of outings not on the greatest of slope this is what I have found so far.

The Merlin has got very benign characteristics and so far hasn't shown any bad habits. One of the first things I always do with a model is to try and find its limits and to get the Merlin out of shape isn't easy. The wing tips are quite a thick cord which is probably one of the main factors in its very stable flight characteristics.

It was very settled flying reversals but equally comfortable and very easy to fly EM and maintained or increased speed during each leg when conditions were consistent.

The Merlin as standard with the current supplied fuzz ballast tube can take 1.2kg ballast. There is certainly room to fit a larger diameter tube to gain more weight, but the other option I am currently looking into is adding ballast boxes to the wings.

I flew the model in 10 - 12m\s and it took full ballast comfortably. With the wing area it has room for plenty more for the bigger conditions.

Overall so far I would say the model is an excellent beginner to intermediate fliers model that could be used confidently for racing or sport flying. Although the wing tips have a thicker cord than I would personally like, I have already stated this provides a great stable model. It still maintains a good straight line speed combined with great turning ability retaining its energy, which are two main factors for racing.

The setup I have 3 modes configured as follows:

CoG 100mm

All measurements are taken between the Aileron and flap.

Normal Mode: 2mm camber

Measurements in degrees

Aileron Up: 17.5
Aileron Down: 10
Elevator Up: 6
Elevator down: 6

Rudder all modes 7.5

Pump Mode: 1mm Camber

Aileron Up: 17.5
Aileron Down: 12.5
Flap Up: 10
Flap down: 7.5
Elevator Up: 6
Elevator down: 6

Speed Mode: Aileron level with wing tip and align flaps (flap should be level with fuzz fairing)

Aileron Up: 15
Aileron Down: 12.5
Flap Up: 5
Flap Down: 5
Elevator Up: 5
Elevator Down 6
Snap: 5 set on a curve at 75% 2.5

I also have Camber set on a switch for Normal and Pump which is only used for launch 3 degrees and 5 degrees. 5 degrees is rarely used if ever. when going into speed mode these setting along with butterfly/crow are disabled.

Butterfly / Crow:

Aileron up: 12.5
flaps down: 55
elevator down: 11

Merlin Build

Finally the Merlin build is finished and I have managed to find sometime to fly the glider. Before I get onto the flying characteristics I will run through some of the key points in the build, which was very straight forward.

For the servo tray to make it easy to fix in place I formed a mold as part of the tray to hold the ballast tube. Once the tray was secured in the correct position it was easy to glue the ballast tube in the correct position in the fuzz at the correct CoG point.

Once I completed the Tray and Ballast tube I moved onto the tail area. I made a simple jig to bend the brass tubing to the correct lengths and angles in prep to secure into the tails as per the pictures. Make sure you run some tape along the hinge line to protect it from the epoxy :

Once the brass tubing was in place I cut it to length and soldered the ball joints in place:

And finally the tray fitted out:

Important Note:

On the ailerons and flaps makes sure you lay some fiberglass mat over the brass linkages for extra strength.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

All new F3F Merlin from Ian Mason

A while back I was asked if I would build and test fly the new Merlin designed by Ian Mason. The first models turned up at T9HobbySport a couple of weeks ago and I received mine a few days later.

The market has many different types of models available for F3F / Slope, generally they come with a high price tag. Unbelievably you can purchase this model for less than £600 and the quality is excellent, see the pictures below for yourself.

The model being more aimed at entry to intermediate level, I was very interested to see how this models performed. It is always very positive to encourage new pilots into slope soaring or F3F and this model will definitely be a massive step in the right direction.

The previous model form Ian the Willow proved to be exceptionally popular with all levels of pilots, many being owned by very experienced pilots.

I will be starting the build in the next couple of weeks and I will provide as much information around the build but more importantly how well it flies.

I will be building the model using MKS 6125’s on the flaps, MKS 6125 minis on the ailerons and 6125e’s the fuz.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

MKS Brings Brushless Motors to there Slimline Servos

More developements from MKS, they have a new range of slimline Wing Brushless Motor servos coming soon for gliders:

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Great Britain Slope Racing Association.

After a lot of work slope racing in the UK has finally received official status. Below is a brief update on what we are trying to do to raise the profile in the UK and establish ourselves for the future:

I am sure the history of slope racing which I have documented below could be challenged, so I apologise for any inaccuracies, unfortunately I am still relatively new to the sport.

Slope racing in different forms has been organised at club and national level since the early seventies and possibly before then in the UK. In the mid eighties F3F racing was born by the Danes. From this time forward, various individuals have given up an enormous amount of time in the UK to organise slope racing. This group of pilots have remained in the whole independent. In the UK we have hosted 3 Viking races and before that the North Sea cup. Viking races have been hosted by many countries around Europe, which is incredible when you look at the amount of work it takes to organise these events.

In 2010 / 2011 F3F was finally recognised by the FAI, which led to the first world championships in Germany. This was without doubt a fantastic event. Those who were lucky enough to attend would all agree Franz Demmler and his team put together a contest that will be remembered for many years to come.

For the UK to bring this together and understand the process required, to send the best team and manager was not easy to achieve. It also showed that we needed to be much better organised and operate closer with our governing body the BMFA.

After I returned from the world championships, I set about looking at how this could be best achieved, how all the pilots could be involved in this process and decision making. Along with Jon Edison we spoke to a number of pilots to understand how they felt about the current organisation. Whilst it fitted what we needed for local league etc, it was clear improvements to raise this ever growing sports profile in the UK were essential.

With the information gained, Jon and I put together a proposal to submit to the BMFA to give us specialist body status. We wrote with close assistance from the BMFA, a constitution and proposal which was submitted in August. On Saturday the 7th September we presented the proposal to the BMFA Council in Leicester and they voted unanimously in favour of the specialist body.

So what does this mean?

It means:

· Secure the future of Slope racing in the UK and to promote the continued growth of slope soaring.

· To Provide the Slope Racing community the opportunity through an organised structure to have a direct input into the running of their sport.

· To manage the expectations of the F3F flyers and provide a democratic organisation to best suits their needs

· To raise the profile of F3F and give it appropriate representation on the BMFA

· Provide a representation on the BMFA Silent Flight Technical Committee.

Jon Edison, John Phillips and Peter Gunning have all stepped forward to form the first committee, which will work towards getting the association up and running. Julian Perrott from BarkWeb, a keen F3F pilot from East Sussex Slope Soaring club, has kindly offered to design and host our website. This will be released over the next few weeks. More details will be available once the website is up and running, including the constitution, how to join the association and support Slope Racing going forward.

So what will we be known as “Great Britain Slope Racing Association” or GBSRA. This will also enable us to also have the full potential to introduce new classes where possible.

I hope everyone is in agreement and understand why this was a necessary requirement going forward.

Kind regards

Martin Newnham
BMFA League Coordinator.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Video footage from SlopeGlide 2013 by Tom Foreman

Excellent video by Tom Foreman of Greg Dakin

Based on watching Greg fly his Dorado form RCRCM I have now placed on order, this model looks an excellent aerobatic model. I hope you enjoy the video of Greg showing off his skills at Levisham.