12 November 2012

Not sure if everyone who reads this blog goes on the ECSS Facebook site, so here is a pic of yesterdays flying at switchblade....

03 September 2012

Davie Hooker fly and braai at Ziggynanda

BBM and Facebook have tended to supersede the blog because of the immediacy of reporting but this was special exception for us. Dave heads in to hospital today for some major surgery and asked his mate Alfred for a special day's flying on Saturday, ahead of the op. Of course, like the advert says, Alfred talked to his mates and they talked to their mates and we ended up with a good mob up Ziggynanda on Saturday afternoon. 

Messages had been coming from far and wide, starting with Simon, Wessie and Bruce in the Cape, through to Shaun in Pretoria, Rob Rowe in KZN and this final very special one for Dave, from Mike Abramson:

Hi Dave, Russ, Rob, Old friends
Brings back many fond memories 
many, many hours building - late at night in his garage
sunburst solarfilm - he is the master
my first bad finger cut with a scalple, & he cyno'd it shut
remember Oros, the sagitta eaters, middle phase 1.5, etc etc
and of course, his dry humour
Please pass our best wishes to Dave Hooker. 
Mike & Julie

What follows is a rogues gallery of those enjoyed some magic sloping and chatting to ole Dave.

More from Russ regarding the Dave Hooker Fly and Braai:

What promised to be a great day, delivered 100%,  despite cool cloudy conditions, there was more than enough lift available for the die hards, who made the trip to Hooker's, Fly and Braai!

Dave H was in his element! He sat on the tailgate of Alfred's bakkie and flew his beloved Radian Pro, for what seemed ages. Man if Dave couldn’t break the wings on Saturday, they bent, flexed and I swear he nearly got the wing tips to touch! Lots of excitement was provided by all, from re-maidens that went all wrong, tx being "launched", and Sd'ing, landing out, landing down and breakages.

It really was nice to see Grant, Paul Boswara, and Brad Conlon again, and I am sure with what they saw, it is only a matter of time before they arrive at Winston with something to fly. Paul's questions along the lines of, "this 2.4 thingy, is it ok and how do I make a Shongololo strong and ballast it", proves that once a Sloper, always a sloper!

Stan was dying to maiden his Minivec, but had his fair share of drama, and sanity prevailed while trying to get the range sorted. With all his walking and range checking, I joked that with Futaba, you "walk less and Fly more".

Dave, what can I say except, till you have flown a Flight Pro Swift, you are losing out! The orange bullet tore up the sky like it had a rocket up its “ask your mother for sixpence”. I said Dave wasn't going to be able to wipe that smile off his face for a week. He also proved that Swifts really don't need guidance when landing! And they survive and come back unscathed. Rumour has it that Dave went to church twice on Sunday!

Dean have great fun with his Swift and Luna, another Flight Pro model which has huge potential. He also has a winch that has my right arm, 8 inches longer than my left after launching myself of the side of ZN. The amount of kak down the front of the slope is amazing, makes Springfield look like a Hospital Theatre!

Luke impressed no end with the Rare Bear, which should be renamed Barney in its purple drab, man it goes like stink, his Radiant was impressive to say the least, and a serious contender in Open at the end of the month. The Nelson clan arrived and both Sy and Ry put the Weaver through its paces showing that it has some serious aerobatic ability. Mark had his Minivec up and showed a lot more confidence compared to when he flew it at the Toss event in January.  

We rounded off the day with a Braai and I can assure you, there was a lot of chatting, all good, and all too soon, it was time to head on home.

Dave Hooker is a legend, we are hoping for the best, one thing is for certain, he will be in good hands at Albert Luthuli.

Dave had a very negative outlook last time we were at ZN, but after Saturday, and seeing how much he is loved by all, should give him the strength to fight back, and get out on the hill soon.
Till then, Mr H, hang in there, we are counting on you.

Russ Conradt

Russ suckering us all good with the hand launch transmitter ;-)

East Coast slopers just chilling and chatting, Mark Phillips with Dave Hooker, sitting on the afore-mentioned tailgate.

Russ's view of the East Coast Rockers :-)

Most of the mob who braved the chilly afternoon.

Men of the hour, Dave Hooker and good friend Alfred
Dave Hooker and young Jade Persson, son of Frank.

Rudi Smook and Mig - thanks for the shelter Rudi!

Mark Phillips and Dean Halley.

Lionel Smith and Rudi

Saudi Arabia's Johan de Lange and classic Ellipse 1, down from Pietermaritzburg.

Adriaan, also down from Pietermaritzburg.

Sean Oellermann.

Dave's legendary "Sagitta Eater"!

Dean Halley and Luke Johnson.

Fearless ECSS leader and braai man Russ Conradt, a fraction before he terrified most of us by hurling the dummy transmitter instead of the JW60!

Luke Johnson, Paul Boswarva and Brad Conlon.

Stan Haussman and Mark Phillips.

Stan with with the as yet un-maidened Minivec.
Paul Young, Russ Conradt and Glen Pyle - special thanks to Paul and Glen for making the trip.

02 May 2012

Retro slopers

This past Sunday 22 April 2012, the weather looked favourable for sloping at my local slope Winston Park. I duly loaded the car and headed off, making a detour past Dudley’s workshop for help in getting my Zally ready for flight. When I arrived at the slope there were already guys flying, with more joining us as the morning turned into afternoon. There were some new faces on the slope, as well as some seasoned veterans, including both Daves (Greer & Hooker). Both these gents influenced my flying in my bm days (before marriage) in Pietermaritzburg, as well as others such as the late Pete Milne, Russ Conradt and Tex Impey. Back then I was only flying rudder/elevator models and it was only after a 20 year hiatus that I went onto aileron models (about 5 years ago). Needless to say, I had missed out on a whole two decades of “new” models which were no doubt cutting edge in their day, but are tame by today’s composite creations and modern airfoils. I’m not sure of the vintage of the Middle Phase glider, but I never had the pleasure of flying one back in my bm days, so it was with great excitement that I inherited one from Dave Hooker a while back. This one was an experiment by Dave who put Wortmann tips on it and changed the airfoil (or so he thinks) and had served its purpose and was going to be binned. A few servos and some epoxy later and it was ready for its maiden flight, which almost ended in disaster as there was very little up elevator and she just kept on going down. Having safely landed back on top (well done Arthur) it was discovered that the main wing incidence was way out and the elevator hinges needed replacing. This was duly done a while back and she was one of the planes I took with me on Sunday. I had by now also wiped her off my transmitter to make space for my Sungazer scale models which will see some Volksrust air this coming weekend.

Dave Hooker seated while I launch his Radian – his faithful dog Shasha watches with interest.

Dave Greer (left) and myself enjoying some stick time at Winston Park on Sunday.

Then along comes Shaun, a sloper whom I only recently met, who duly produces a stunning Middle Phase in a natural wood finish, which he prepares to launch.

Of course, this motivates me to pull mine out of the car, delete another model off my transmitter, and re-program my Middle Phase back in. A quick charge of the batteries, and we are ready for a re-maiden launch, this time without my test pilot Arthur for assistance. I even asked the photographer not to take shots of the launch, as it could quite easily end in disaster and tears – of course he didn’t listen. Thanks to (another)Dave (Claxton) for the superb photographs used in this blog. So here we go……..

Off she went like a homesick angel – once my nerves had calmed I got down to wringing her out, and she performed flawlessly (in a retro kind of way) Speaking to Dave, my benefactor, afterwards he mentioned that in his opinion, the original kitted model flew the best of the lot, despite his many experiments with airfoil selection, tips, wingspan and planform. But I’m happy with my under achiever – here she is in a dive – Wortmann tip clearly visible

Chatting to Shaun he tells me he bought two planes off Percy, another seasoned modeler, who was downscaling - the Middle Phase and a Gnot. I too had one of those (Gnot) which I loved flying, but which I swopped for a Fox aerobatic glider - which I have yet to complete. Maybe one day Shaun and I can fly our Middle Phase’s in formation, and if I can get my Gnot back, fly those together as well. All in all, a successful day at the slope with a great bunch of guys. I think if the rain hadn’t made its appearance at about 4pm, we would have flown until it got dark.

Perhaps we will see more of the old school slopers appearing as the price of composite models increases and more seasoned slopers start cleaning out their hangars.

I hope so………………

Some more shots courtesy of Dave, showing the clean lines of Shaun’s Middle Phase.

10 April 2012

2011 Kzn RC Thermal Soaring champs - in 2012 ;-)

Nice little Facebook report from our East Coast Soarer's Russ, here:
East Coast Soarers 2011 Kzn thermal champs

If the success of BBM Slopies group is anything to go by, The Facebook East Coast Soarers page is set to become the Kzn soaring communication medium of the future.

Name                  Total        Rank        %
Michel Leusch     5000           1       100.0%     Explorer
Dave Greer         4980           2         99.6%     Esprit
Sean Oellermann 4812           3         96.2%     X pro
Russell Conradt   4732          4          94.6%     X pro
Don Slatter          4602          5          92.0%    Pike/Xpro
Dennis Bird          4225          6          84.5%     X Pro
Andre Leusch      4200           7         84.0%     X Pro/Ellipse 3
Rudi Smook        2530           8         50.6%     Eish
Adi Critten          1787           9         35.7%     Luna
Simon Nelson      1691        10         33.8%    X Pro crashed
Ryan Nelson       1336         11         26.7%    Supra crashed
Luke Johnson           0         12           0.0%    DNS

Thanks to Dennis Bird for these pics and making the event happen, third time lucky!

Michel calling for Sean Oellermann - Sean easily the most improved senior Kzn pilot.

Sean and Michel after landing - the red and white combo still the one of the most distinctive.

That man Ruscal with Shrekie the glider - thanks for the help and the magic braai, Russ!

Ted Smith the contest director for the day - was starting to check out these fancy planes ;-)

Andre Leusch explaining to Sy how he achieves these demon landings with the evergreen Ellipse 3.

Michel Leusch about to launch for Don Slatter.

Third place Sean Ollermann with Natalie the scorer.
Second place Dave Greer with Natalise the scorer - thanks Natalie.

2011 Kzn Thermal Soaring champion Michel with Natalie the scorer.

The special sunset finishes off a hectic but enjoyable championship.
Bring a beginner commentary:
The day started badly with three consecutive line breaks for yours truly. After ranting to all who happened to be in the way about how one should be thermaling in the strong breeze, yours truly went all soggy and blindly pushed forward in round four, being soundly thrashed for the throw away round by Russ and Sean who bailed back downwind at the right time. Having added four peeps of up trim to keep the Esprit parked in the wind, we promptly forgot to take out same for round five, the biggie slot against Michel..... A bit tense after line break four but Ruscal gave the Esprit a monster throw and the craft damn near launched in to outer space, courtesy of the forgotten afore-mentioned up trim and the Russ launch. It was kinda fun to sit in dot country above Michel's 1 second launch Explorer for the ten minutes and it was that small launch time differential that made the difference between gold and silver - I am totally in awe of these brave youngsters who push the limit that hard! Thanks to all, I can only ascribe the result to good ole "beginners luck" and also doff my cap to KZN champs newbie Rudi Smook for a successful first Natals for him ;-). Cheers Dave.

The Nelson clan were understandably reticent to further risk precious models after Dad banged his plane on round one landing and Ryan landed out (fortunately without damage other than a flap servo) with the new Supra. With Dad away for some months and aircraft supply already limited, Ryan is in need of real support from the locals for practice and plane help, folks.

05 April 2012

The Little L39

This is Erics new little semi scale L39 - weighing in at less than 300g including the battery she is an awesome floater but able turn on the speed. He has cut the whole kit out of an EPP/Polystyrene mix and has a few more made if anyone wants one, drop me a line!

29 February 2012

Hi Guys,

After losing Vanessa V at Inanda some time ago, I've been a bit down in the mouth. To perk me up, Erik gave me a glass fuz he had moulded & a set of very thin wings he'd been experimenting glassing using a vacubag. As I've always wanted a Toko - and this was similar - I was delighted. Working hard - learning about the different uses for cotton flox, microballoons & lite filler, I finally got her ready last night for today's SW blow. Well, she certainly did not disappoint! Stable, Silent & Fast - a lovely plane. I'm really looking forward to getting acquainted.... We have christened her the SPEEDFREAK !

06 February 2012

Start place and next step for the Sportsman aerobatic guys

Dean was talking Mike Smith through the basic part of the Sportsman’s schedule with his Graphite 2M on Saturday – nice place for the guys to start then the question was posed, what next? Mark Phillips also asked if there is life between Sportsman and Expert.

For those wanting to have a dabble, Toss club league conveniently has a C, B, A grade listing, from which much of the recent event maneuvers were drawn. Start with C and progress to B and you should be well armed for future participation in Sportsman class.

The January event blurb also includes ribbon diagrams for most maneuvers, if you are in any doubt:

A Grade
1Down Drop2Figure M
3Horizontal Eight with 1/2 Roll4Four Point Roll
5Rolling Eight61/2 Square Loop with 1/2 Rolls
7Four Point TOSS Roll8Twisted Loop
9Rolling Loop10Sharks Tooth

B Grade
1Double Immelman2Cuban Eight
3Slow Roll4Reverse Cuban Eight
5Three Rools6Inverted Eight
7Alternating Roll8Vertical Eight
9Square Loop10Horizontal Eight
C Grade
1One Roll2One Inside Loop
3Straight Inverted4Two Inside Loops
5Two Rolls6Stall Turn
7Split S8Immelman
9Half Reverse Cuban Eight

01 February 2012

Two Oceans Slope Soarers aerobatics 2012 continues the magic

The story from this side is intended to be shortish, suffice to say that the TOSS team yet again improved on an already immaculate event. Some verbage and Russ's pics will be added as and when time permits.

RESULTS (Kzn Springfield Chickens in bold italics):
 1. 100.00% Dave Lentle (Flightpro Flying Fish).
 2.   86.20% Marc Beckenstrater (Aldij)
 3.   83.89% Luke Johnson (Voltij)
 4.   81.58% Dean Halley (Luna)
 5.   69.54% Anton Benning (Toucan)
 6.   54.20% Mark Phillips (Minivec)
 7.   52.45% Hans van Kamp (Foamy Fish)
 8.   46.78% Schalk Human (Kipper)
 9.   45.24% Noel Cochius (Kipper)
10.  32.35% Ryan Matchett (Kipper)
11.    9.80% Rudi Smook (crashed)

 1. 100.00% Michel Leusch (OD Maistro)
 2.   93.40% Marc Wolffe (Primerius).
 3.   92.81% Louis Genade (Hans OD)
 4.   87.27% Kev Farr (Vector 3)
 5.   83.82% Christo Le Roux (Derago/Toucan)
 6.   75.29% Steve Meusel (OD)
 7.   69.47% Malcolm Riley (Aldij)
 8.   64.78% Dave Greer (Minivec)
 9.   33.00% Russ Conradt (Quest-crashed)

Inter-provincial trophy (best two Expert plus best two Sportsman)
 1. 348.675 KZN (Michel Leusch / Dave Greer / Dave Lentle / Luke Johnson)
 2. 341.950 Western Cape (Marc Wolffe / Louis Genade / Marc Beckenstrater / Anton Benning)

Feedback from first time attender, Dean Halley:

"What my thoughts were about the TOSS 2012 event and the trip as a whole;

It was a mad rush to get Luke and my gliders safely packed into the transport box and rush to King Shaka Airport on Thursday 26th Jan, but we made it and arrived in Cape town to a howling south easterly +/-35kt, we went to the flat and unpacked the planes as fast as possible, just couldn't resist a sundowner flight on the wrong side of signal hill, it was awesome the KGB was out in full force doing vertical rolls for about 100m up and then diving between the trees, the guys at Dave's flat could see the wings glinting in the sunlight, the landings were quite something.

The Friday morning we made our way to some of the local hobby shops and a few other shops, after a late breakfast or an early Lunch we headed for Red Hill, what an awesome place to fly, the view is something I cant begin to explain to you and the wind and lift was even better, "THE LANDING ZONE" what's that, you come round the back in good lift and try position the plane over a nice bush and then flaps away and full down elevator dropping it in the bush and then you go and find it.....LOL

The Cape Guys put on a well organised competition on Saturday morning with nice fresh southerly winds at a new site called Smitswinkel, I didn't see any shops there so don't know why they called it that but another breath taking view and flying straight over the sea, what an experience. Having never flown there we launched straight into the first round, the Luna did me proud as it didn't miss a beat, although you can ask my caller Luke my fingers were a blur on the sticks as the nerves got the better of me but held it together to have a very good first ever round of a comp at a first time ever flown site for me.

The Sunday I think I was quite relieved there was no wind as we were quite wind swept from the previous two days of sloping, so we had a photo session at Komajie and Prize giving at the famous Dixie's in Simons Town.

What an awesome event we need more of those during the year, bring on the September Zigginanda/Switchblade event we need lots of local entries and support, lets start practicing sessions on the slope!!


These pics from courtesy of Mark Phillips:
Early morning view from our Cape flat

More of the early morning view

Russ and Michel practice day at Red Hill

Just look at the lush vegetation behind the practice folks.

Even Mommy Phillips hung in at the Red Hill practice Friday!

Russ about to launch Michel's Maistro for practice.

Maistro shows how slope knife edge should be done!

The gorgeous backdrop to the Red Hill slope flying.

The wind was more fierce than the sun!
The orange shirted Luke and Dean skulking away with hectic hang overs.

The Sunday Soetwater view.

Rascal sporting the latest in head wear at Soetwater ;-)

Most of the mob with most of their aeries.

One for the Shark dive sponsor.

The Durban travelers, Luke, Dean, Dave, Mark, Russ Michel and Rudi.

The Toss brigade, we salute you.

Michel carrying his winning Maistro.

Some of the accommodation at prize giving.

The ever cheerful Louie.

The very special Bill Dewey with his pretty special lady friend.

The orange shirted Luke and Dean, hung over from the previous evening.

Judge Kurt receives his gift from Chairman Christo.

Judge Andy Andersen receives his gift from Chairman Christo.

The cheerful judge Claude receives his gift fro Chairman Christo. 

Sgt Major CD Bill receives his gift from Chairman Christo. 

Rudi receives a special prize from sponsor Southern Hobbies for a challenging week end.

Steve Meusel had a quiet weekend by his standards - first Toss aerobatics he has not placed in?

Fourth placed bridesmaid in Expert - Kev Farr, receives his awards from Christo.

Third in Sportsman Luke receives the beat trophy.

Second in Sportsman Marc receives his awards from Christo.

Dave Lentle receives some of his many prizes.

Dave Lentle receiving the First in Sportsman trophy.

Big Louie Genade receives his third and Experts awards.

Marc Wolffe receiving his second and Expert class awards.

Marc Wolffe receives his second in expert in trophy.

Michel Leusch receives his expert first place awards. 

Some of the Durban mob having some Sunday evening Signal Hill fun.
The sun sets on the forth even more awesome Toss 2012 event.

The Durban lasses Claire and Natalie enjoying the Signal Hill Sunset.