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Author Topic: History of Slope Soaring  (Read 14828 times)

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Offline Plain ol' Puppers

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #40 on: October 11, 2016, 22:34:11 PM »
What a fine publication RM used to be  :study:

Alan
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Offline ofej

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #41 on: October 14, 2016, 17:02:11 PM »
What a great thread!

Unfortunately, I am 'only' 57 yrs old so don't have early enough knowledge to improve your information, Gary.

Really brought back some vivid memories when I started thinking about those 'early' days though.

My Dad took me to Ivinghoe Beacon in his Ford Anglia 105E Reg "8946UR" when I was 11 or 12, we saw Harry Brooks of SprengBrook, and others flying planes there.

A year later my sister wrote that car off with me in the car (no seat belts, so I hit my head on the windscreen) "You're So Vain" being sung by Carly Simon, was on the rather fancy car radio, tuned to 247AM, "Radio One", on that journey.

Anyway, buoyed by seeing the models flying at Ivinghoe, Dad built an Amigo and also built a single channel bang bang Simpletone Tx with a single red button and a slide switch. The switch turned it on. The first press of the button gave full left rudder which stayed there for as long as the button was held. The second press of the button gave full right rudder, if you were quick you could achieve a third position which was half right rudder.

The Amigo didn't last for as long as my memory of it.

Offline Phil_G

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #42 on: November 26, 2016, 18:39:34 PM »
Going back to the "who was first" conversation, around 1966(?) we joined the SSA which was a purely slope soaring club and always had been.  Investigations following recent problems with the tennant, particularly regarding 'Grandfather rights', have revealed a club history of members continuously flying at Callow Bank since the end of WW2, mostly FF and magnet-steered, but quite a few R/C too from the earliest home-made, ground-based valve gear.  There are unconfirmed claims that even before the war and before the club's foundation, enthusiasts used to gather at Callow to fly their model gliders. I believe Sheffielders were amongst the first R/C slope-soaring enthusiasts in the UK, long before Veron and the Impala!

Cheers
Phil


Offline 2.4G Shaun

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #43 on: November 26, 2016, 22:06:47 PM »
I believe the Impala was the first British slope soaring kit, certainly not the first slope soarer  design available but Phil Smith had been experimenting with slopers for a number of years prior to the kits release. It was massively successful in terms of numbers sold over the years.

Cheers

Shaun

Offline Patmac

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #44 on: November 27, 2016, 19:27:25 PM »
Not sure if the Impala was the first British slope soarer kit, possibly it was the first from a mainstream kit producer but I think there a few from lesser known sources.
I remember someone turning up with an Impala at a local slope shortly after they came out. God knows why it became so popular, it was about 5 or 6 years behind the times & didn't match up in performance with many of the contemporary plan designs aimed at beginers. I think Phil paid more attention to producing something that had eye appeal rather than a decent slope performance. IMO the Soarcerer, for example, was/is infinitely better & a more practical slope design.   
Pax vobiscum


Offline Phil_G

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #45 on: November 27, 2016, 21:00:50 PM »
But during the intervening years between the Impala and the Soarcerer, there was little to beat the Impala as a reliable hack and although I do like my Soarcerer it doesnt have the same nostalgic appeal - by the time the Soarcerer appeared we'd all progressed to propo and were flying kippers - I doubt many were built for reeds or (as originally designed) for S/C.  Everybody had an Impala - almost always a "triggers broom"  - and it was equally happy with S/C, reeds or propo as the owner progressed with the hobby.   
My favourite is the 75% version, in the bottom pic.
I still enjoy flying mine with the gear I had back then, somehow I've amassed 5 or maybe 6 Impalas, all ready to go!



ila_rendered


« Last Edit: November 27, 2016, 21:06:08 PM by Phil_G »

Offline Patmac

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #46 on: November 27, 2016, 22:17:09 PM »
TBH Phil, I was churning out my own designs for a few years before the Impala appeared (Any idea when it came out ? I'm not sure if it was out before or after the Soarcerer)
Apart from a couple of lightweights, most of my slopers in those days had 1/16" ply fuselage sides with shaped balsa top & bottom & 3/16" longerons in the corners & were completely nylon covered. The lightweights had rubber powered escapements but the "proper" slopers usually had a Mighty Midget/spring return driven pull-pull manual pulse set-up.
I always had a de-mountable flat-plate tailplane. A couple of the things that turned me off the Impala was the silly swept fin/rudder & lifting section tailplane.



This one was my last manual pulse rudder only, first propo glider. Although there's some similarity, it was made just before the Soarcerer was published in RM, the tail is Slingsby influence. The photo was taken during the Isle of Man glider week in 1973 by then I'd had my first propo set for a year or two. The model had been converted & flown with elevator + rudder but ailerons were added just in time for the IOM, these were later increased in chord from 3/4" to 1 1/4".
Gave it away to a friend two or three years after this but I keep promising myself I should build another.   
Pax vobiscum


Offline 2.4G Shaun

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #47 on: November 27, 2016, 23:06:33 PM »
Adverts for the Impala started  appearing around May 1967 but it had been around a good while  as a prototype before  that date. As Phil G said, it was a great all round slope trainer, very robust,  that was flown on single, reeds and galloping ghost before the plan was updated for propo. It had a great wind speed range as well, very rarely it couldn't be flown other than flat calm.

Shaun.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2016, 23:08:31 PM by 2.4G Shaun »

Offline Phil_G

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #48 on: November 27, 2016, 23:43:47 PM »
The Soarcerer was published in October 69 by which time for many slopers the old faithful Impala had been through S/C, reeds and propo... but it was always a single-speed design, with S/C stability and the speed/pitch coupling necessary for S/C flight didnt translate to multi quite as well.  A shallow dive for a loop would need progressively more down elevator as the speed increased, and then often it would loop S/C style without up elevator!

We first saw the Soarcerer at a Northern Area slope comp at Tinkers, where Duncan Pask and his pals had cut foam wings and instead of fully sheeting them had added LE and TE sheet and cap strips so they appeared to be built-up. They had only slight dihedral and ailerons, some without rudder. Their aerobatic performance for such a simple design was astonishing, and in the following weeks most of us at the SSA built aileron Soarcerers, inspired by their performance on that day.  I never built a RE version so its hard to compare with the Impala.
I like them both, though they're very different to fly.  I must tart my old Soarcerer up & have another go  :af
Cheers
Phil
« Last Edit: November 27, 2016, 23:49:17 PM by Phil_G »


Offline Eagle

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #49 on: November 28, 2016, 10:53:59 AM »
Not sure when it first came out, but one of the earliest commercial slope soarers I remember was the Chris Foss designed Mini Phase that was marketed by Micro Mold. It had an all sheet balsa wing of about 72" span and was for rudder/elevator control. I had one for a while, but could not get it to fly very well. But that may have just been down to me, a newbie then to slope soaring, plus my local slope was not all that brilliant!!


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Offline EricF

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #50 on: November 28, 2016, 18:00:43 PM »
My wife bought me the Mini-Phase kit before we were married 43 years ago and I'm still flying it . . . and we are still married!  :''
Edit: Oops, 45 years ago we got married! Gary, don't tell my wife I got the year wrong should you see her again in the near future, although I could put it down as a senior moment! 😂
« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 10:48:58 AM by EricF »
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Offline tadleysoarer

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #51 on: November 28, 2016, 21:32:46 PM »
wow, that is one long flight! :)

Tad
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Offline GP

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #52 on: November 29, 2016, 21:01:33 PM »
That is fantastic Eric, that you are still flying a 43 year old Mini Phase. I wonder if anyone else has a plane that has lasted so long and is still being flown?

I suspect my Minimoa is almost that old, but I've only had it for a few years, so I cannot claim to be the person who kept it in one piece for so long.
slopehunter.co.uk

Offline 2.4G Shaun

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #53 on: November 29, 2016, 21:26:04 PM »
Still looks like the Impala was the first Brit slope kit then.

Not a slope soarer but I have a Keilkraft Firebird control line model that is 50 years old and occasionally  sees the light of day. Still has the  original PAW 19D in. The wing was recovered about 30 years ago in nylon as the original silk had given up the ghost.

Shaun
« Last Edit: November 29, 2016, 21:27:58 PM by 2.4G Shaun »

Offline 2.4G Shaun

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #54 on: November 29, 2016, 21:29:21 PM »
Forgot to mention the PAW 19D still runs as well as the day I bought it.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2016, 21:31:30 PM by 2.4G Shaun »

Offline ofej

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #55 on: November 29, 2016, 21:52:42 PM »
My Dad passed away this year.  I am working through the many aeromodelling bits and bobs that Dad left behind, in the house, attic and shed.
 
When I was a nipper... half a century ago... Dad built a KeilKraft Invader.  A really sweet, twin-tailfin, 40" free-flight glider.
 
On my first attempt at towing, the model went out of sight and we never saw it again, despite it having our contact details on it.
 
A couple of decades ago, I built Dad an Invader, to clear my conscience as I had irrationally assumed that it was my fault, and had felt guilty for more than twenty years.

The model I built, and the box the kit came in are in Mum's attic.

Also - alongside the box that the 'second' Invader came from, is - in perfect order - the box that the first Invader emanated from.

The flood of happy memories is overwhelming when I unearth these things.


Offline EricF

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #56 on: November 30, 2016, 11:06:14 AM »
That is fantastic Eric, that you are still flying a 43 year old Mini Phase. I wonder if anyone else has a plane that has lasted so long and is still being flown?

I suspect my Minimoa is almost that old, but I've only had it for a few years, so I cannot claim to be the person who kept it in one piece for so long.

Gary, I got the date wrong, we were married in 1971 and my wife bought me the Mini Phase for Christmas a year or so before that and it still has the original Futaba 15M servos in it. I also have a Mike Trew 'Country Man' of similar vintage which also is equipped with 15M servos  and a 6M receiver. You can see it flying on Goodwindsoaring or the 'miniphase' channel on YouTube, just search for 'slope soaring jack and jill' . In fact there are two 'Country Men' in the video, DelUK's, the white one, and mine, the black and red one.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 11:22:06 AM by EricF »
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Offline Brian Cooper

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #57 on: December 01, 2016, 06:56:35 AM »
I had my first go at slope soaring in 1964 at the age of ten.
I usually flew power models but an eminent modeller gave me a glider so I duly fitted it with single channel radio - which was as far as my pocket money would stretch in those days - and took it to Ivinghoe Beacon.

There was a goodly collection of pilots already on the hill so I presume the game had been going years before I became involved.

It was good fun but anyone flying slopers on single channel in those days had to be mindful of how long the rubber band would last - it actuated the escapement for the rudder which was the only control on the model - before it unwound.

Happy days.  :)

B.C.

Offline RFJ

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #58 on: December 01, 2016, 12:47:51 PM »
I guess one candidate for the earliest glider specifically designed for R/C slope soaring would be George Upson's Aries published in the June 1958 issue of Aeromodeller.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2016, 16:05:13 PM by RFJ »

Offline Michael_Rolls

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #59 on: December 01, 2016, 13:08:04 PM »
The earliest reference I have to a slope soarer is in the 1951 Aeromodeller Annual with a drawing of a Polish canard . It is unclear whether the model was simply F/F, magnet steered or R/C (possible, but unlikely I would have thought even though the plan shows ailerons, but these may just have been ground adjustable for trim). The model was built like the proverbial brick outhouse, possible to withstand slope contact.
The 1957 Aeromodeller Annual has both a magnet steered model and an R/C design (Thursday’s Child by D, Illsley) and commenting upon the latter says that 1957 saw a big upsurge in R/C slope soaring and that Illsley, flying at Dovedale, raised the record to 2 hours 23 minutes 19 seconds.
The magnet steerer was a Czech model, and details of the magnet were shown.
Over and above controlled models there were F/F slope soarers around as well. One design I remember from around 1951/2 was an A2 (F1A) which could be flown as normal from the towline, or used on the slope, in which guise an enormous dorsal fin strake was added to keep the model headed into wind. IIRC the model established a duration record in that guise, but I can’t swear to it.(The model was named Veronica, as is my wife!)
Slope soaring was taking place on the continent pre-war, but whether magnet or pure F/F I know not.
Mike
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Offline RFJ

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #60 on: December 02, 2016, 14:00:17 PM »
In the January 1938 issue of Model Airplane News there is an article about a single channel R/C glider slope soaring at Harris Hill, Elmira, New York. Called "Hi-Hat" the model was 13' span and was built by Carl Thompson and flown by Ross Hull who also made the R/C system. Soaring flights of "several minutes" were made in July 1937.

The first R/C slope soarer?

Offline Michael_Rolls

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #61 on: December 02, 2016, 14:56:12 PM »
Seems a very good candidate
Mike
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Offline 2.4G Shaun

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #62 on: December 02, 2016, 15:14:02 PM »
Older than I thought for the first model but it still looks like the Impala was the first British slope kit available.

Shaun

Offline Patmac

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #63 on: December 03, 2016, 18:26:40 PM »
Sorry Shaun but I'm sure there were other British slope kits available before the Impala. Examples from memory - Myndair produced a number of scale gliders specificaly for slope soaring, the Enterprise Zephyr & possibly the Cybernetics Zenith (both fully aerobatic) were around by late '66, early '67.
IIRC Veron were producing the Big Eagle by '68 but although it had ailerons it was billed as suitable for gentle soaring, not fully aerobatic - fell between two stools really.
I'm not sure when the Veron Springbok came out but IMO it had potential to be a decent sports aerobatic sloper with a good wind speed range if only it had had ailerons - pity small wing mountable servos hadn't been available at the time.   
Pax vobiscum

Offline 2.4G Shaun

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #64 on: December 03, 2016, 19:24:22 PM »
Still no definitive dates though for other models.  I've had a brief look through early aero modeller, model aircraft and even RCM&E but didn't see any adverts for slope kits.. Plans yes but not Brit kits. The Impala sold well  over 150,000 kits world wide. Acknowledged in the trade as probably  the most successful s/c kit of the day.

I own the prototype Big Eagle which was  also used for all the advertising photos; a great looking model designed originally for Reeds. The Springbok was specifically designed to fly &  turn well on  rudder and ele. I remember Phil explaining the design philosophy behind it to me and he had tried ailerons.. It didn't fly any better. The Springbok came after the Big Eagle.
 
Shaun.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2016, 19:34:33 PM by 2.4G Shaun »

Offline Phil_G

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #65 on: December 03, 2016, 21:36:24 PM »
Not sure the Zenith date is right Pat, I'm sure I remember John Marden and Jim Bennet flying prototypes at the 68 Sheffield SSA two-day, and Ron Donahue with an early Zephyr in 67.   The 'Zephyr' name was unfortunate, 'Barge' would have been more appropriate.  The prototype had the wing from a Donahue IC design, cant remember which. 

The Cybernetics Zenith was a game-changer, it completely changed the way we all thought about aerobatic slope soarers.   I'm not 100% sure but I thought it was more like early 68 when it appeared.  RM did a kit review, as I remember the fus was pre-built in balsa and the wings were obechi foam.  If I can find the review, that would date it accurately.  I dont know about kit dates as I dont recall an SSA member ever building from a kit, most flew O/D's or plan builds !   Tight bunch, Sheffielders...

Cheers
Phil


Offline Patmac

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #66 on: December 03, 2016, 22:59:07 PM »
Shaun & Phil, I'll be digging the Xmas decorations out of the attic tomorrow, if I find time I'll have a look amongst my 1967 RMs see what, if any, adverts there are for the slopers that I mentioned. I seem to remember that the Zepher was given some sort of review.

I was a humble TOIT in 1967 doing evening classes & day release & with a new baby (he's the one in my previous photo) in the house so didn't have a lot of time or any spare cash to spread on kits. Virtually all of my models were OD's - often with features cribbed from other designs - or they were modified versions of free plans - I don't think I've ever built a model without making some mods.   
Pax vobiscum

Offline RFJ

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #67 on: December 03, 2016, 23:08:40 PM »
The earliest commercial ads I could find for UK R/C slope soarer kits were -

Enterprise Zephyr, December 1966, Radio Modeller
Mynd Skylark 4, May 1967, Radio Modeller
Veron Impala, July 1967, Aeromodeller

Offline EricF

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #68 on: December 04, 2016, 23:30:10 PM »
I bought a Myndair 'Skylark 4' kit back in 1967.
I must get around to building it one day, it's still up in the attic!  :embarassed:
Glider guiders leave only footprints!

Offline Michael_Rolls

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #69 on: December 05, 2016, 04:19:57 AM »
Now don't go rushing things!
Mike  ;D
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Offline Phil_G

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #70 on: December 13, 2016, 00:16:11 AM »
Dave Hughes took this snap of Roland Scott, slope-soaring at Moel Famau in 1951
ED single-channel, rudder-only gear:



« Last Edit: December 13, 2016, 00:19:34 AM by Phil_G »

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #71 on: Yesterday at 18:47:34 »
Hi all,

I'm a newbie on this forum, and this is my first post, so apologies if these words appears in the wrong place/upside down/whatever....

I'll get better, honest.

I found the forum quite by accident when I spotted the reprint of a March 1973 "Strictly For Soarers" article from Radio Modeller, uploaded to this thread by Phil_G, and did a double take.  Well, may I introduce myself by saying that the top photo in the article shows Phil_G on the left, and on the right is, er, me.

I'll apologise for the dodgy 1973 hair-do in advance, I don't have it anymore, or hair generally really.  I do still have that pylon racer model though, it's in the attic and hasn't flown for 40+ years.  Yikes!

The mid 1970's more or less marked the end of my first RC "career" as work etc. got in the way, although I'd been a keen modeller since the 1960's.  I made short a re-appearance maybe ten years or so ago when I tried unsuccessfully to get my son interested.  At the time he and I flew slope soarers from Callow Bank, Sheffield, and also did indoor electric stuff at the Goodwin Sports Centre, also Sheffield.  At that point I re-joined the SSA (Sheffield Society of Aeromodellers) but when my son's faint interest finally fizzled out, the models began to gather dust in the attic, where they still are.

Well, now I'm retired, I'm hoping to begin RC career #3.

Watch this space!


Offline Phil_G

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #72 on: Yesterday at 20:05:08 »
Hi Pete, wow its been a while...  ;D    I was at Callow last Sunday week but you couldnt see a hand in front of you so after a couple of hours waiting for it to clear, I gave up. Just like the old days!  I dont know if you've been recently but the tennant farmer is making things as awkward as he can - fences that go nowhere, manure spread on the launch point...  I remember your Galloping Ghost glider with the Fleet GG gear - you've probably gathered, a bunch of us retro-RC enthusiasts are regularly flying S/C, reeds & now we're making a bit of a GG comeback too!

Back to the Pylon Racers, I dont remember what happened to mine. I recall it was hanging in Keiths shop for a while then disappeared.  I wasnt aware of that 1973 article until Shaun gave me a pile of RM back issues!
The racing was great fun! If you remember we both liked the 'freestyle' aerobatics rounds best, after pylon,
Its a shame all the comps we loved so much are no longer supported.

Its great to hear from you on here Pete, the forums are a lifeline for me as you'll appreciate though I have to say the positive attitude is an act I've perfected to hide what my doc calls 'moderate depression'.  If this is moderate I'd hate to suffer the full blown version  ;D

Cheers
Phil    (not been 'Pip' for 40-odd years!)
PS heres some stuff:
Single-channel website: www.singlechannel.co.uk
Youtube channel: PHILG2864
And the S/C forum: singlechannellersreunited.co.uk/phpbb3




« Last Edit: Yesterday at 20:08:56 by Phil_G »

Offline Pete M

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Re: History of Slope Soaring
« Reply #73 on: Yesterday at 23:07:50 »
Hi Phil,

Yes, long time no see, to put it mildly, and it's great to hear from you too.

I'm hoping to become a regular on this forum to help me get back into RC, but more importantly I'm pleased to hear that its helping you through difficult times.  I didn't realise you still flew at Callow Bank.  I suppose you got the SSA email last week warning members about possible physical threats if flying there, so do be careful.

Yes, I remember my GG outfit, I never really got on with it and once managed to bend the entire RX across a rock in a crash.  The pc board was broken clean in two, but amazingly you fixed it by bending the (steel) case back into shape, aralditing the pc board back together, and soldering across all the lands.  No-one was more surprised than you when it actually worked, but it saved my life and got me airborne again. Did I ever say thank you?

I can't understand why slope events seem to have largely died out, very strange considering how popular it all was back in the day.  Will it ever come back I wonder?

During the spell when I was taking my son flying he became interested in (electric) helicopters, so we acquired two or three.  Neither of us really ever got to grips with them, then he gave up and joined a cricket club for his hobby.  I've recently decided to clear the helis out (not my fave kind of flying machine) and I think they'll soon appear on eBay when I get around to some pics.

Anyway, I've got some models to dust off, but first I'll check out those links you pointed me to.

Hope to speak to you again soon!

Cheers,

Pete (not been Mal for years either)
 



 

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