I went along to meet with up some hardcore and very experienced PSS (Power Scale Soaring) guys last weekend as they were holding their final Northern Area meet at my favourite slope site – “The Big Rock” as I affectionately call it – the Gt Orme at Llandudno to you!
I had been “chatting” online with one of their stalwarts Phil Cooke, and was desperately trying to get my newly acquired BAE Red Arrows Hawk ready for the Saturday, but as Friday night came…and went, it was obvious that this would not quite happen. Phil suggested I took it along anyway and they would give it the once over – especially as I had been struggling a little deciding on its correct C.O.G. The weather forecast was not great, and as I dropped down the little Orme road, with Llandudno bay sweeping out in front of me, I could barely see the big’un for cloud!
The wind was also pretty pathetic at a measely 6 MPH… but I pressed on regardless, after all, its only a 15 minute drive for me, yet some of the expected lads were travelling from as far away as Oxford, and Edinburgh! I arrived around 8.35AM with a view to sneaking in some airtime before the serious stuff arrived – armed with my “Slipstream” wing – and also my “Supafly” leccy delta in case the wind was really low.
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As I arrived at the car park for the slope, I was greeted by several of the resident Kashmir Goats, and a gentle breeze wafting the fog and cloud around. Visibility was around 30 yards – but I took the slipstream over to the edge, and the wind, although light, was a nice S/Westerly. “I’ll keep it low and close to the ridge” I said to myself, “It’ll be fine” I reassured myself – and launched. Thirty minutes later I plopped her down at my feet, and smiled that little smile we all do after a little fun filled flight. Back at the car, coffee and waffles in hand, the sound of another car heralded the arrival of Mr. Simon Cocker – all the way up from Stoke on Trent. His large estate car brimming to bursting point with assorted models.
Whilst we sorted out the re-binding of his Spektrum equipped T33 shooting star, Phil Cooke arrived from Derby with, amongst other things another T33….
…and a very nice Hawk built from the Andy Conway plan.
Next up was Mr PSSA himself Alan Hulme from a relatively nearby Chester. Amongst his fleet was his famous and well used “Grosvenor House” DH88 Comet.
He also had an unflown “Hobbyzone” Spitfire – marketed as an electric parkflyer – Alan was convinced (and was correct) that it would be just perfect for the day’s light winds.
Next to arrive was the prolific builder and designer of all things PSS – Mr Andy Conway, all the way from Edinburgh – with another of his own design Hawks.
He also had a very nice POS (Power Or Slope) Scimitar with EDF fitted. Last but not least to have chanced a journey in the hope of some good lift was young Matt Jones of Oxford with another car stuffed to the gunnels with models of all shapes and sizes including a very nice Tristar airliner.
Not forgetting his HUGE, unflown, all balsa and ply, scratch built Vulcan! Resplendent with its new blackened jet intakes.
As I had confidently predicted, the low cloud cleared around midday and Phil and Simon enjoyed some airtime with the T33s.
Phil also managed a few sorties with his E-flite P-47 Thunderbolt.
Alas the wind did not improve, and sadly the Vulcan remained grounded. Other models to fly that morning included Andy Conway’s EDF Scimitar which sadly joined the many burrowing rabbits to be found on the the big rock – a real shame as it flew convincingly on its midifan and 8s A123 cells. A slightly overshot landing approach first time around necessitated a second circuit, which unfortunately ended up a good distance out and suffered from, we suspect, signal failure through line of sight loss.
Andy and I walked a long way to find and recover the resultant remains. Sadly many models which were brought remained grounded through lack of lift.
Despite this, we all enjoyed a fun time – which is, after all, what it’s all about. I finally decided on the Hawk’s C of G, and ever hopeful, spent the afternoon and all night finishing her off for a maiden on the Sunday. I arrived at around 11am to find only Alan Hulme and his lovely lady wife, together with Andy Conway, enjoying beautiful blue skies and panoramic views but alas, no wind at all. The others had been telephoned, and advised not to waste expensive fuel on a fruitless journey, so I had to be content with a few static photos of the Hawk.
Typically, the weather had been perfect for sloping on the Friday, and even more typically, Monday is forecast to be 15MPH westerly – so I shall be heading back there for the Hawk’s maiden.
This was my first experience of a dedicated PSS model flying session, and I was struck by both the diversity of models, and the friendliness of the flyers. If you have not encountered this fascinating branch of our sport yet, why not check out the PSSA website at www.pssaonline.co.uk, it’s full of great info and ‘joining’ is free!
Click here to go straight there.
It just remains for me to say a big thanks to all those who turned up, and especially Simon and Phil for their help and advice. I look forward to the next one and, of course, the Hawk’s maiden on Monday!
Check out the gliding forum section for an update on the maiden.
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