[singlepic id=231 w=320 h=240 float=right]It appears I’m in slope heaven at the moment 🙂 Westerlies had been predicted for today and a group of guys on RC Groups have been watching the forecasts keenly for a few days. They allowed me to crash the party so the car was packed this morning so I could go straight from work. Thanks guys, it was great to meet you all. It’s always so much fun sharing a hobby with like minded individuals.

The wind was westerly alright, but very weak by the time I arrived. Some of the guys had been there most of the afternoon and I believe conditions been better earlier. When I turned up there was one Alula airborne and I think a Weasel. There was an assortment of flying wings and conventional ‘tailed’ gliders stuck into the bushes waiting for the wind to pick up. I was chomping at the bit to fly so after initial introductions I assembled the Alula and launched rather nervously – Adam, that video had better be flattering!

[singlepic id=229 w=320 h=240 float=left]Wow this thing was pitchy. It was difficult to keep a constant attitude and fly smoothly. Excessive aileron also caused an instant drop of the nose. It was a little frustrating, because Terry had his Alula up at the same time and was soaring (seemingly) effortlessly. We chatted about their handling characteristics while flying and I really started to wonder about the center of gravity. We discussed the dive test and Terry encouraged me to give it a go. A short dive and she tucked under violently, followed by some excessive porpoising while trying to keep it airborne over the slope. Aha, confirmed. Another 5c piece is going into the nose before the next flight.

Towards the end of the Alula’s flight the wind and the lift seemed to increase. Everyone had gone, so had the sun, but the Kestrel said I had about 6 – 7 knots. So the Duck was prepped and launched, but not without incident. This twit selected the right model from the radio’s menu, flicked the switch from 2.4GHz to 36MHz but didn’t do a control check before launch. Such a fundamental thing to forget! Switching from the ‘Alula’ to ‘Duck’ also changes the radio from PPM to PCM which necessitates a reboot. So the Duck had a short flight half way down the dune and into a bush. Lucky it wasn’t the drink!

Second launch with the Duck and everything went much better. I only had about 5min in the fading light but there was just enough lift to stay up. On the last few passes she disappeared from view completely on each turn. So she was brought progressively closer until a hand catch was performed. Why are the best catches when no-one’s looking?

*Edit* It looks like Adam’s been burning the midnight oil getting the videos uploaded. Check it out I’m famous 🙂 You can see what I was talking about with the pitch behavior, I promise I’m not unco – that was from barely breathing on the stick! Terry’s flying his Alula the way it’s supposed to be done, I really like his design too. I might have to attack mine with a texta soon. Thanks for the Vids Adam. All the others from today can be seen on his channel  here.

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