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Member postings for Martin Harris

Here is a list of all the postings Martin Harris has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Commons Science and Technology Committee Enquiry on Drones
07/09/2019 12:07:36

You'll need to tell me. I'm trying to see the picture on an iPad mini in bright sunshine without reading glasses...

Thread: Best/Safe practice or wiring electricmotor - ESC- On off switch - Reciever
06/09/2019 09:56:40

I can't disagree with your philosophy - mine is very similar except I see the extra layer of security being useful as long as it isn't relied on. I'm always at pains to point out to clubmates that any safety device can fail for physical or human error reasons and to treat any electric model with the flight battery connected in exactly the same way that they would with an idling IC engine.

How many times have throttles been knocked open with transmitter straps, for instance? I've seen this with both electric and IC and a throttle lock prevents this happening.

05/09/2019 22:06:07

I'm a strong advocate of safety switches on transmitters but please remember to treat them as an extra layer of precautions rather than rely on them.

Switches can fail, be knocked or simply mis-operated...we're all human (and we all bleed!)

Expect the unexpected.


Helping a clubmate last week with a new model which I'd just maidened for him. I observed that it could benefit from some aileron differential but it was set up with a Y lead. The model was powered up with the throttle locked? There were a couple of spare channels but it was a newish Futaba with different menus to when I'd had Futaba and the manual wasn't to hand. I found a setting for a 2 aileron wing and clicked on it, answering yes to the request for confirmation. Instant full throttle and several startled bystanders...

Luckily (I'd prefer to think of it as simple good practice) the model was restrained and everyone was behind the prop so no harm done. I (and the owner) was unaware that this simple change cleared the model memory and reset it to defaults...and as most of us know, Futaba throttles work in the opposite direction to that expected by most ESCs.





Edited By Martin Harris on 05/09/2019 22:08:31

Thread: Latest CAA Update
05/09/2019 10:02:56
Posted by Steve J on 05/09/2019 09:28:58:

Posted by Andy Symons - BMFA on 05/09/2019 09:18:26:

All the negativity around at the moment is doing more harm to y sport than anything else get out and do some flying!

Perhaps there is a lesson there for the BMFA. Perhaps the BMFA could keep clubs and members better informed as to what is going on.


Perhaps another very much larger organisation could learn that too much open discussion, infighting and revealing of proposed policies can weaken your negotiating position?

04/09/2019 09:53:29
Posted by Jason-I on 03/09/2019 21:46:19:

You think clarifying, in law, the airspace ownership rights of landowners is just an 'I don't like it' case?

Careful what you wish for...that can work both ways and certainly in the case of our club would destroy our ability to fly anything larger than park flyers, 3D models or (ironically) drones if our neighbouring land owner were to restrict overflight.

Thread: A stubborn cam cover on four stroke
02/09/2019 13:42:47

I assume you tried rotating as well as pulling?

02/09/2019 08:53:06

Jon's method should be very effective if all else fails - just be sure that the outer cam follower has been removed before you try it!

You may be lucky but that follower is not always easy to remove from the outside, especially on a neglected engine .  A strong magnet  might help.

Edited By Martin Harris on 02/09/2019 09:00:17

Thread: Stearman wing plans
01/09/2019 22:00:33

If you're just looking for a Stearman plan, the Sterling version is pretty accurate although the cabane fixings will likely be different. It's on Outerzone as a free download.

Thread: A stubborn cam cover on four stroke
01/09/2019 21:48:22

Smooth parallel jaw pliers are also useful for gripping easily marked items.

01/09/2019 21:11:35

If that fails (unlikely) and the engine is still assembled, you might consider, after wrapping it in an old towel, applying an airline to the breather nipple...engine at TDC would be kindest.

Thread: Latest CAA Update
01/09/2019 17:12:42
Posted by Paul Vincent 8 on 01/09/2019 14:09:51:

Agree with you 100% Keith the problem we are all facing is flying a drone is one thing and flying a plane is another and the powers above are trying to make us all follow a mindfield of rules and bring us all under the same set of laws and clearly it will not work out in my eyes.

At the end of the day Drone flying is one thing and Model aircraft are another and should not have the same set of rules and laws

What a shame that the legislators don't share your opinion. However, as safety appears to be a convenient smokescreen for legislation aimed primarily at commercialisation of lower airspace, common sense is unlikely to sway many of the policymakers to this view.

31/08/2019 22:48:11
Posted by Jason-I on 31/08/2019 15:27:00:

Plus, the only reason they would be knocking on the operators door would be if the pilot fled the scene.

Not if the legislation follows motoring law practice.

I spent a morning at Aylesbury Magistrates Court some years ago acting as an "expert" witness when a friend's girlfriend was summonsed for using a borrowed caravan with defective brakes after the police attended the scene of a damage only accident where she lost control and rolled the caravan. Standard stuff so far but I was also helping another friend fight a separate charge of allowing her to use said caravan with defective brakes.

The no doubt highly qualified traffic policeman who attended the scene was apparently unable to appreciate that a bent A frame would alter the geometry of the over-run brake's cable and when he tried applying the parking brake while examining the wreckage found the cable still slack with it fully operated. Having considerable experience with towing trailers and having used the over-run brake while helping hitch the caravan, I was able to explain the reasons why the charge was spurious. I hope it was incompetence rather than an opportunity to boost his ticket count with two hits for one accident but whatever, while the JPs retired for a quick sherry while deliberating the duty prosecuting officer (not the officer involved at the scene who wasn't in court) turned to us and told us not to worry as they had no case! The ironic thing is that had she been prosecuted for driving without due care or similar, I believe she would have accepted being at fault!

The upshot was that had there not been a robust defence, both the driver and owner of the caravan would have been fined and given penalty points and I would imagine similar responsibilities being applied to the operator of a UAS.

31/08/2019 00:53:02


30/08/2019 19:37:50
Posted by Erfolg on 30/08/2019 17:01:27:

There is no reason as to why any one could not have the opportunity to register or take the exam prior to the date of enforcement. This is permitted with the humble MOT. An alternative is to provide a period of grace for registration and labeling after the date of implementation.

I'm lost Erf - there is already a 2 month pre-requirement window so where is the problem? It's an automated system, if you can't get on on day 1, week 1, month one there's still plenty of time to wait for any rush to go down.

The BMFA, for example, seem to cope with mass renewals at a fixed time so, especially as registration will be automated, I don't think the yearly bulge, which would gradually spread out over the years, will present too much of a problem.

30/08/2019 16:56:11
Posted by Erfolg on 30/08/2019 15:22:07:


I think you are telling me that potentially and possibly actually it will be illegal for many modelers to fly, as they will be unable to register, and then must label their models. This could be period that is from hours to days or may be weeks, until access to the test is possible and the actual requirements of labeling become both clear , then implemented.

My understanding is that the government have decreed that testing and registration systems have to be in place from the 1st of October and all those wishing to continue to fly from the 1st of December must have completed these exercises. That gives 2 months for those of us who aren't afraid of winter flying to organise our tests and registrations and for those less hardy souls who don't venture out until the daffodils are blooming, several months.

As Corporal Jones might have said, "Don't panic, Mr Erfolg, don't panic!"

Edited By Martin Harris on 30/08/2019 16:59:21

30/08/2019 11:47:36

I'm hoping to find that my Brother label maker will produce compliant labels when the regulations are announced. As it's ideal for making identifiers for servo leads etc. and general use around the workshop and home it's useful to have anyway or perhaps one of your clubmates could knock out some at nominal cost?

29/08/2019 23:50:28
Posted by Jason-I on 29/08/2019 20:49:42:

The point is, I have no desire to take the test, yet some take it as a requirement to fly rather that just a personal achievement.....

The location where you want to fly may have invested a great deal of time and money into building good relations with neighbours and/or their landlord. They may well have decided that one tool is to require their members to put some time and effort into gaining an A certificate, demonstrating a decent level of expertise and knowledge of the basic rules and good practices relating to flying. Is it really fair to allow unknown visitors with no particular commitment to the wellbeing of the club (that's not to say that they aren't very responsible and skillful - just unknown) to fly without having that same basic (or quite possibly equivalent) recognised level of achievement?

Perhaps it might be that if you want to fly at such venues, you do, in effect, have a desire to take the test? Someone with your experience should have no difficulty with the flying aspect and the knowledge required for the questions aspect can only be of value.

29/08/2019 11:50:30
Posted by Andy Symons - BMFA on 29/08/2019 11:01:26:
Posted by Don Fry on 29/08/2019 10:47:32:

Andy, I accept some clubs have safety issues peculiar to the site, rights of way spring to mind. But a demonstration that a pilot can keep the toy aircraft over the dead area in front of the pilot box, and crash in safety there, is a more pertinent skill than a figure of eight. Half of the clubs in this the U.K., by your numbers, have a policy which might be hindering the acquisition and retention of new members. My personal opinion. But the points have been made. let it rest there as it's history now.

A fig 8 is a demonstration that the pilot can keep the aircraft in the correct area.

I would go much further than that Andy. The figure 8 (flown properly in anything other than flat calm) demonstrates the ability to adjust rates of turn during the manoeuvre in order to keep the figure reasonably round, adjust power to compensate for varying bank angles, correct height variations due to lift and sink encountered, demonstrate spacial awareness with the crossing point requirement, fly reasonably accurate circles in both directions and not least, show due regard to other circuit users.

I'd say that it's a splendid test of overall control, appreciation of wind effects and height awareness and is a very valuable part in both the A and (due to the more stringent requirements) B tests.

That last statement should hold a clue for A test candidates nervous about completing it correctly - there is latitude and the examiner should only be looking for a reasonable attempt with them demonstrating awareness when it's needing correction and taking the correct action even if the result is not perfection.

Edited By Martin Harris on 29/08/2019 11:56:30

Thread: Sports Bipe I.D needed
28/08/2019 22:21:41

This any use?

Thread: Broken servo arm screw
28/08/2019 17:35:26

You'll be glad to know that none of my Corona slim wing servos have suffered - only, as others seem to have experienced, the mounting lugs failing in normal service and similar installation practice to my many other servos. Perhaps there has been some poor quality plastic used on occasions?

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