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Member postings for Robin Colbourne

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

Thread: TV "drone" crashes
23/12/2015 18:07:58

I wouldn't be at all surprised if the drone flew into a cable strung overhead across the track. This is something to which the manufacturers of those head tracking drones which film from a point above and in front of a sportsman will have to give some serious thought.

The one that crashed was certainly a much bigger drone than most of the public would imagine them to be. The ramifications of this incident will be likely to affect drone and model operators alike, purely from the public seeing such a large, high energy, lump of machinery land so close to someone as it did.

Thread: The FAA demand registration from 21 December
23/12/2015 17:47:29
Posted by Rob Buckley on 23/12/2015 15:45:54:

What have 'Rotorcraft' got to do with unmanned aircraft?

Helicopters are the main group of aircraft which are routinely operated at low level away from known airports, airfields and airstrips. Whether they are visiting a golf course or hotel to collect or drop off passengers, an air ambulance going to the scene of an accident, power line inspection or a military helicopter on an exercise, they all have reason to be at low level for at least part of their flight away from base. Helicopter pilots at our local military airfield are seeing an increasing number of drones, models etc. which is why I'm so keen on responsible fliers making their whereabouts known to their local manned aircraft operators.

If the Cologne rotorcraft event includes a 'workshop' on interaction/avoidance of drones & models, then it may be worth the BMFA sending a delegate, otherwise there are probably better things for them to do with their member's subscriptions.


Edited By Robin Colbourne on 23/12/2015 17:48:26

Edited By Robin Colbourne on 23/12/2015 17:48:51

Thread: What is it ?
22/12/2015 12:26:32

There is also the PMC Imp from the 1980s which was built from plans. A quick google shows that although they were normally radially mounted, a few were beam mounted.

It could be that someone built it, found they didn't have enough compression to get it to run as a diesel, then converted it to glow.

I remember Dad coming home with an Embee diesel. It was supplied in a Tupperware type plastic container. The engine didn't threaten to deprive any rice puddings of their skins, but was quite nicely made.

Thread: The FAA demand registration from 21 December
21/12/2015 21:25:30

Peter, That's something any full-size G-reg aircraft owner has to put up with already. Just search G-INFO on the CAA website to find present and past owners. Maybe its to discourage low flying...

Thread: Tiger Moth traditional kit
21/12/2015 21:00:12

Kits-wise keep a look out for an unbuilt Pilot Kits Tiger Moth, 47" wingspan. I test flew one with an OS20 two stroke in it, for the builder, and once trimmed it was a nice flier. You would need to set up a search on auction sites for one though and expect to find a few others bidding as they are nice kits.

This is what you are looking for: **LINK**

Plan preview here:

Plans include Gordon Whitehead's which you can preview here: **LINK**

The plan for the Phil Smith's Veron 50" Tiger Moth are or were available from his son Colin at:

There are several more on Outerzone mostly around 44" span



Edited By Robin Colbourne on 21/12/2015 21:07:35

Edited By Robin Colbourne on 21/12/2015 21:08:25

Edited By Robin Colbourne on 21/12/2015 21:20:08

Thread: The FAA demand registration from 21 December
21/12/2015 18:46:18
It seems some full size pilots have a degree of contempt for model flyers. I'm not sure why.

Geoff, Some people just are just obnoxious, and unwilling to find a way to which accommodates everyone's needs. I've seen it in model clubs between R/C, control line and free flight, and in hang gliding clubs between hang glider and paraglider fliers. Microlighters used to be treated the same way by spamcan fliers, although these days so many PPLs have trained on microlights that there is a bit more understanding. It sounds as though in the case you state that the Tiger Moth pilot shot himself on the foot.

21/12/2015 17:26:18

Aircraft can legally fly below 500ft above ground level provided they are 500ft away from persons, vessels, vehicles and structures:


So, if you are operating in a field away from houses and major roads, you could easily be in the field that a pilot selects for a practice forced landing. Psychic abilities are not part of PPL training, so unless the pilot has spotted you, your model or your car, he will assume its an empty field.

Your local airstrips can be found here (a couple of years out of date, but its better than nothing):


There are also numerous hotels, golf clubs and private houses that have helipads, even if no helicopters are based there permanently.

Alan Jarvis, like you I have seen some very low Hercules.  Driving south along the A3 near Petersfield, Hants, one flew over well below 500ft.  Low flying keeps military pilots alive in wartime, so they need to practice at every opportunity.  IMHO, you don't NEED a NOTAM for flights up to400ft above ground level, but letting the CAA & military know that you have an established flying site there would be wise (Check an air map first for controlled air space etc. to avoid any red faces!)

NOTAM website here:


Edited By Robin Colbourne on 21/12/2015 17:27:02

Edited By Robin Colbourne on 21/12/2015 17:32:38

Edited By Robin Colbourne on 21/12/2015 17:36:08

Edited By Robin Colbourne on 21/12/2015 17:42:34

Edited By Robin Colbourne on 21/12/2015 17:43:40

21/12/2015 13:37:54

I wonder how many of the reports of low flying full-size aircraft near well-established flying fields are simply because they don't know you are there?

I'm in a gliding club with operates from a military airfield. At the start of each day we get a pack from flight operations which amongst the NOTAMS (notices to airmen) details all sorts of activities in the local area, such as pheasant shoots etc. Contacting any airfields and air strips in, say a 15 mile radius of your club site to say, 'We are here and operate from between 9am & sunset on (days), doesn't guarantee they won't fly over you if you're in uncontrolled airspace, but at least they can mark you on their air maps as a good place to avoid.

Why not contact the airfield manager at a few local airfields and see if they are aware of you?

A lot of full-size fliers are current or ex-model fliers. A friendly approach before there is any conflict can make life better for everyone. If you have a member who is also an experienced full-size pilot and has a congenial personality, they would make a good liaison.

Whilst this will do nothing to stop irresponsible flying of drones etc, it will stop the figures being added to by easily avoidable events.

Thread: Ebay sellers...
19/12/2015 23:20:02
Posted by mightypeesh on 19/12/2015 22:09:02:

The tissue finish on the Stuka reminds me of a very bad RTP conversion I did of a rubber powered one in my early years. It was so heavy it sort of dragged it self around with the occasional hop. Happy days!

From my memories of RTP, the hop was when the solid plastic wheels hit the wires from the controller to the pole. Of course if you could put enough volts down the wires, the centrifugal force resulting from the incredible speed would get the model up level with the top of the pole; until the brief but spectacular smoke trail from the motor, anyway!

As you say that Stuka is pretty massive. There are no signs of wires going into the wings, surely not rudder/elevator R/C? No bellcrank visible either, you wouldn't fly that free flight, would you? Would you??? surprise

Thread: Balsa Building Boards Are They Worth Buying
19/12/2015 22:19:33

The website says the SLEC building board is endgrain, which sounds good, except I would have thought it would snap easily unless it glued to some sort of backing board. Has anyone got experience of one?

Thread: Ebay sellers...
19/12/2015 21:48:01

A few blasts from the past here, if only the seller could identify them:


From what I can see, they are:

Red & black one with a nose wheel - Keil Kraft New Super 60
Yellow & green - Keil Kraft Super 60
Blue glider fuselage - Mercury Three Footer
Green one with the German crosses - Junkers Ju87 Stuka (Control line?)
Yellow & Black - Keil Kraft Student
Orange and black glider - No idea, any suggestions?

Thread: Airsail Kits
19/12/2015 18:23:54

Congratulations with the new venture, Dylan. Its great to see another British model manufacturer.

Seeing as you're based in Sedburgh, perhaps you should add one, AKA the Slingsby T21 or 'Barge' to your future project list?

Thousands of people must have had their first solo in one and would build it for nostalgia's sake.

There are plenty of attractive colour schemes too, both Air Cadets and civvy.

Slingsby T21 Sedbergh



Edited By Robin Colbourne on 19/12/2015 18:25:50

Edited By Robin Colbourne on 19/12/2015 18:26:24

Thread: New Laser engines. What do you want?
19/12/2015 13:59:58

Re the piston in the NGH engine, I'm no metallurgist, but could it be that if a cast or forged hypereutectic piston (very high silicon content) is used that machining the top face could release stresses which would allow the piston to distort more than just machining the skirt would? Another possibility (guess), is that the high silicon content in the rough surface makes it less susceptable to erosion?

Thread: Middle Phase Glider
19/12/2015 02:22:14

There are three shots in this thread which may help.


I've not seen any good shots with all the gear in the fuselage in one shot through. I'm sure if you asked around at a good slope soaring site, someone will have one at home they would let you photogaph and measure.

If you have the battery at the front, then the servos with receiver behind, you get the weight forward minimising the lead required. Also the receiver aerial won't then pass the servos if you are on 35MHz.

With regard to C of G, start at 1/4 of the mean chord (root chord + tip chord)/2 measuring from the leading edge, and as you get used to it, gradually remove nose weight until the C of G gets to about 1/3 mean chord.

This site says 2 5/8" back for the aileron wing:


WIth regard to your question about numbers of unfinished models, the answer must be thousands if not tens of thousands. When I ran my adult education course, a large proportion of models finished and flown had been started years if not decades earlier and had spent time in attics and on top of wardrobes. There were some real classics which finally saw the light of day and flew. The usual reasons for stopping the build, apart from families coming along and work pressures, were lack of knowledge on how to install radio, engine and do the covering. Some were more or less complete but needed a bit of going over to reduce control surface gaps, sort out stiff linkages and uneven control throws.

Thread: Ebay sellers...
19/12/2015 01:27:28
Posted by John Privett on 18/12/2015 21:11:01:

Well the revised Wot trainer listing is at least an improvement on the original version. Though it doesn't appear to have any wings... There's still the same comprehensive description, "good" (which I still maintain is one word short).

The revised price is slightly less unbelievable though still optimistic for a dusty fuselage, corroded engine and elderly 35MHz radio.

I think the seller is more at home selling furniture. Perhaps he should stick to that.

OK he might not sell it at that price, but if a house clearance person comes across a model, surely its better that he offers it to potentially interested parties than it becoming landfill just because he doesn't know exactly what it is? If his first guess at pricing is wrong, then he will probably drop the price until it sells.

Someone out there who has just 'lawndarted' their Wot Trainer and is left with a good wing, may be ready to bite his hand off if he accepts a sensible offer.

I still can't believe he gave up on the drone so easily though!

Thread: How much does the hobby contribute to the economy?
19/12/2015 01:06:23

If you type in the name of a limited company in Google, you eventually come to which gives the cash,net worth, assets and liabilities for any limited company. Two of the well known wholesalers each have net worths over £5M. Granted that includes cars, boats and whatever else they do.

18/12/2015 19:38:55

The real benefit to the economy is how model flying has inspired youngsters over the last 120 years to take an interest in science and engineering. Model flying imparts knowledge of materials,processes, aerodynamics meteorology, in fact the list is endless. Model flyers have gone into high tech industries of all sorts which have earned the country money both in income tax and overseas sales.

The hardware may be made in China these days, but the hobby is the catalyst for generations to use their brains..

Here's Sydney Camm (think Hurricane, Hunter and Harrier) holding an A-frame pusher:

Sir Sydney Camm

Thread: The FAA demand registration from 21 December
18/12/2015 19:12:43
Posted by Steve J on 18/12/2015 18:33:08:

A clubmate was advised by the police not to put his name and address on his models.

A mobile phone number is all that you need to put on a model in order to allow somebody who finds it after it has gone AWOL to get it back to you.

I'm always a bit wary of some of the things the Police are quoted as saying. In many cases its just that particular Policeman's opinion. I would like to know the thinking behind the comment. I can see if someone looks at your model at a flying field, they could phone a mate to say. 'This guy's at the flying field, go and burgle his house as he won't be home for a while.' However a 'pay as you go' mobile number is hardly a positive means of identifying someone, plus, given the mobile reception we have at home, I would never get any lost models back!


Edited By Robin Colbourne on 18/12/2015 19:13:21

18/12/2015 18:13:43

Whilst there is obvious concern of 'big brother is watching you', as others have said, putting your BMFA number on your model was pretty standard practice and anyone who has flown free flight will know that typing your name and address on a piece of tissue and doping it on the model was normal too.

I don't see why anyone who launches a model, drone or whatever should not be held accountable for their actions. If it goes through someone's greenhouse, why should the greenhouse owner have to foot the bill? If you want the right to fly a model, you need to be responsible for it when it goes wrong too. That's why we have insurance. A lot of house insurances used to have a clause covering the policyholder flying model aircraft. I did query this with mine as it appeared to cover anything radio controlled regardless of size. They assured me any size was covered. I did wonder where I could get a QF-4 (Phantom) target dronedevil. The insurance company later phoned back to say models weren't covered, despite it being there in writing in the policy!

Obviously there needs to be some common sense, hence the lower weight limit, although I did hear that, the BMFA insurance made a fairly significant payout some years ago when someone was hit in the eye with a free flight chuck glider.

I would have thought that any one of the following should be acceptable ID on drone or model:

  • BMFA Number
  • Name, house number and postcode
  • Driving licence number
  • Passport number

You could reasonably argue that the same applies to golf balls and cricket balls. That should put the cat amongst the pigeons!

Thread: Ebay sellers...
18/12/2015 17:36:37

"It gets even better. The same seller has listed a multi rotor for sale. He crashed it so is selling it on!

"As you can see it was new but I took it out in the wind and well the rest is history"

This seller is a legend. **LINK**


Would you give up that easily? I detect an aroma vaguely rodentish about this listing.

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