Rapier models at Old Warden - May 20th 2001
The model flying event at Old Warden on 19th and 20th of May was
officially Electric and Vintage weekend, but as it was the first
outdoor event of the year for many of us, Sunday turned into
something of a Rapier extravaganza, with scale jets being flown
non stop all day. Below you can see a typical selection of models
lying around - I counted around 40 on the Sunday. Of all the models
there, the vast majority put up good flights at some stage of the
day. I didn't see anyone using Jetex at all, and it seems that
the reliability of the Rapier motors has transformed the free
flight scale jet scene.
Weather at Old Warden over the weekend was perfect - virtually no wind
- overcast on Saturday, and mixed on Sunday, but nice and warm.
There were smoke trails constantly in the sky on Sunday, and hundreds
of Rapier motors were consumed. Above can be seen Peter Smart with
one of the stars of the show, his newly repainted Airbus A300 powered
by two Rapier L2 motors - one pushed into the back of each nacelle.
Span is around 20", and it really did shift, especially towards the
end of each flight, where aerobatics were not uncommon! The twin smoke
trails were a joy to behold. I see why Pete had repainted the model
in Heavylift Cargo colours - if there had been passengers on board,
they would surely have been very air sick! The engine nacelles, which
are particularly vulnerable in a crash, are held on with neodymium
magnets, a system which worked very well. If the model came down
heavily, the nacelles flew off on their own (though not too far,
fortunately). Below is the model climbing away from the launch.
Another brave person experimenting with Rapier powered twins was Chris
Strachan flying an Aerographics Lightning with two L2 motors - one in
a trough low down, and another in the upper engine
exhaust. Two fantastic flights were made - the model has a tremendous
rate of climb (just like the real one) and again we saw the magic two
smoke trails. Just look at the photo below!
Three Focke Wulf Flitzers were
in action, built from Richard Crossley’s plan (soon to be featured in
a magazine) - all flew beautifully - it is just about a perfect design
for a scale free flight jet. Below is Graham Knight with his example.
I also saw at least six Bell X-1's
flying around - some from
first time jet modellers, and they all
performed well. The Aerographics kit of this aircraft makes an
excellent first free flight scale jet. I also saw two
Aerographics Me 163's going as well - seems
to be plenty of power in a Rapier L2 for this model - both
flew very well.
Another published design which was flying
well was the Miles M.52, the plan for which was included in
this month’s edition of Model Flyer magazine.
This is another of Richard Crossley’s designs, and both his and
Chris Strachan’s example performed impressively.
Richard Crossley’s Me 262 (below) looked great in the air - note
the unusual launching technique - well, there's nowhere else to
Mention must be made of the spectacular and fiery end to Peter Smarts
venerable Vulcan, pictured below. One Rapier L3 was just not enough power for this hefty beast, so
he strapped two together and installed them both. The model roared into the air
with a truly wonderful smoke trail, completed one circuit, then with its
belly facing the admiring spectators, one of the motors exploded (an end cap blew out), setting the model on fire, and it came down in spectacular fashion, burning merrily.
Pete was not too upset - if a model has to go, what a way to go!! The event
was captured on video as well - I dearly hope someone can get hold of a copy of the tape.
The amount of used motors lying around at the end of the day was truly
staggering. We must have given a sizeable boost to the Czech economy! Fear not though, we did take our spent cartridges home with us for proper disposal.
Above can be seen my current scale jet fleet parked in the Old Warden
grass. The Skyray and Boeing 727 were only finished the night before
the event, so were trimmed during the weekend. The Skyray was tried
with an L1 motor for its first three flights - it needed a bit of
noseweight to stop it stalling - the best flight it could manage
was a flyby about 8 feet up. So, egged on by the spectators, I
took out the spacer, and put in an L2. That did the trick - a
lovely climb out and a nice high cruise. The model only spans
10.5 inches, but it has a lot of wing area to drag around. The
plan is available to download elsewhere on this site.
Much to my surprise both my airliners
trimmed out OK. Both the 727 and Yak 40 were nose-heavy out of the box with a 3 degree
set-up and they just needed some up elevator to get a satisfactory
glide. Above is a photo
taken by Richard Crossley of the 727 just after launch.
They both looked good in the air, with excellent glides, and neither
showed a tendency to spiral in - both seem remarkably stable.
are tricky to launch though - you have to hold the forward fuselage,
so it is easy to knock the wing as it passes your hand. Fortunately,
however much I made a mess of throwing them, they still somehow
managed to recover and set off regardless! Here are a couple of shots of the Yak 40, again taken
by Richard Crossley.
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