It was a glorious August morning as we
assembled for 10am in Llanbedrog on the Saturday.
Clear blue skies with a light SW wind which was forecast to
grow in strength to a flyable 18mph by early afternoon.
Having stocked up on rations at Londis, and with a map and
grid reference for the
slope posted onto the public phone box for any latecomers, we made
our way in convoy through Abersoch and out towards the coast, the Cim Farm SW site being chosen on Mynydd Cilan.
A few of our members had camped locally
the night before and were already onsite. Lightweight
sports models were airborne and flying nicely as the rest of
us arrived and parked up in the field just behind the slope
and landing zone at this picturesque flying site.
Attendance was good, and with a few newcomers not having
flown at the Lleyn before we held a short pilots briefing in
the car park to explain the run of the day, the few safety
rules we employ and the things to watch for at this
particular site. From that point on flying was
achieved off the peg all day until gone 7pm my thanks go
to the Lleyn MAC committee members for helping us gain agreement
with the landowner to extend the gate access until dusk.
As forecast, the wind slowly increased in
strength throughout the day by 1pm the lightest of PSS
models were being flown just fine and by 3pm the winds were
20mph+ meaning only the very heaviest of PSS models remained
unassembled in peoples cars. Despite the increased
wind strength the lift seemed slightly off song for the
majority of the first day, with the direction of the wind
swinging very slightly further west than true SW.
Regardless a huge amount of PSS flying was enjoyed by all,
in good light and sunny skies, and a number of new models
were in action.
Bob Jennings test flew his new
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.24
(top left) built from the Alan Hulme plans
and finished in a very attractive weathered silver scheme.
The model flew well following a slight adjustment to the
balance point and looked stunning in the blue skies out over
Originally built by James Morrison, Andy Meade test flew his
newly acquired Boeing B-52
finished in an early NASA experimental silver and
yellow scheme. Built from the well proven
Simon Cocker plans, this 108 span machine set off
true from the launch and Andy soon got it trimmed
and balanced on the controls it flew very well
indeed Andy clearly delighted with his recent
Later in the day a gentle
mid-air with a Jet Provost led to both engine
pods on the port side being removed (they are designed to knock
off on landing) and the resultant asymmetric drag scenario
gave Andy a little more to think about on the sticks but
he was up for the job and thankfully both B-52 and JP were brought safely back to the
landing zone. After the two airframes were checked over
for damage, they both continued to fly all weekend without a
There was a new Airbus A380 on site
converted to PSS by Dave Gilder from the Hobby King EDF kit
and finished very neatly in FedEx cargo colours
(below left and right). As
part of the slope modification Dave had elected to block off the 4
engine nacelles with light ply discs during the successful
maiden flight these proved a little draggy, and it was
agreed that, in this instance, the model may benefit from
having the 4 nacelles open enabling the air to flow freely
through them. Dave agreed to make the modifications
back at home, and for the remainder of the day the A380 was
flown without the engines attached. Even though the
aircraft looked a little strange without her four RR Trent
900's fitted, the lack of the draggy pods enabled a series
of smooth flights in the now ideal conditions.
We have seen a growing number of
PSS aircraft built from correx on the slope this year, with the South Wales
based fliers being the main protagonists. Steve
Houghton's Impala, and Harry Twist's Sea Fury (both O/Ds)
were launched out over the cliffs and were excelling in the
lift, proving very aerobatic and capable aircraft. The correx models certainly confirmed their place - they are
quick and cheap to build using mainly a hot glue gun for
bonding panels together, with a spar made from heavy duty
DIY-store pine. We are aware of more of these sturdy
aircraft coming through from eager designer/builders, and we
look forward to seeing more correx offerings at a PSS meet
soon! Keep your eyes peeled too for a 'Low Cost Correx'
section on the PSSA webpages - coming soon!
As mentioned in previous event reports
this year, 2014 saw the 40th Anniversary of the Panavia
Tornado entering service, a milestone that a few PSS
modellers have chosen to honour in balsa, ply, and glassfibre.
Since his last outing, Steve McLaren has produced some fine
looking wing stores for his GR1 variant that really brings
the bulk of this airframe to life in the air
(below left). Phil
Cooke and Pete Garsden
(below right)also campaigned their versions in the
lift, with some obligatory formation flying taking place.
Steve commented on how he thought his Tonka actually flew a little
better with the wing stores attached - this particular PSS
version must know that she was mission ready!
With the wind still not quite square onto
the slope, the lift wasn't as great as it could have been,
yet we flew on with the skies being bright and clear.
Alas, a day's flying must come to an end, and by 7pm most
people had disassembled their aircraft and prepared
themselves for the evening meal planned at the Ship Inn at
After a great day on the Saturday then,
Sunday held great hopes of more of the same clear
skies and smooth lift - alas, at breakfast the slopes at
Anne's Farm were fogged up with visibility down to 200 yards
with just a very little breeze. The light breeze
was more-or-less SW, and Cim Farm was again selected - but
the clag persisted throughout our commute, until we rounded the final cross-country
corner towards the slope - clear skies and....wind!
Yes, through the vagaries of the Lleyn Peninsula, what felt
like a write-off at one side, was instantly flyable at the
other. Models were quickly rigged, then carried to the
slopeside ready to get the feel of what awaited us. Steve
Houghton was quick off the mark with a launch, and his
correx Impala found it's groove instantly in lift that
proved a bit more reliable and smoother then the day before!
Not to be outdone, Andy Meade rigged his
new correx MiG-3 (built by Phil May) for it's maiden.
Feeling brave, Andy tossed it off the gentle upper slopes
himself, but could be seen instantly battling a fairly
rearward CofG, as the plucky little MiG porpoised its way
out into the bigger lift. After a short while the
aircraft was tamed, and the pilot appeared happier on the
sticks even though the roll rate was low and the pitch rate
was scary, a couple more flights ensued in between airframe
The Avro Vulcan is well represented
these days at our PSSA meets - not only with traditionally built
balsa and ply versions, but the popular EPP types from the
Mark Kettle stable (ever increasing in numbers!) are nearly always aloft. At one
point on the Sunday, there were four examples from pilots
Mark Kettle (pictured
right), Tim Mackey, Pete Garsden and John Hey all
airborne at the same time, producing some lovely close
formation flying. Andy Meade's B-52 joined in the fun,
and we were treated to some intercontinental cold war formations over
Dave Gilder's Aermacchi MB-339
(below right) has been a
regular visitor to the slopes, but unfortunately the
conditions were never felt to be suitable for a maiden
flight, until today. The first launch was perhaps a
bit far back from the slope edge and Dave forced a safe landing
short of the fence.
The second launch was
performed much closer to the lift band and aviation was
committed. Alas, the nose didn't pick up as expected,
the model either nose heavy or out of trim on the tailplane,
or perhaps a combination of the two. The '339 was landed out below in an unfavourable
location resulting in sufficient fuselage mount damage to put this nicely
finished aircraft out of action for the rest of the year
unfortunately. We hope to see it ready again at the Orme early next year Dave?
Andy Meade had rigged his 1/6th scale
A-10 Tankbuster primarily for the group photo shot (which
unfortunately was timed just as some light rain built up and
blew through the slope), but being egged-on by his
co-conspirators, felt confident enough to try a launch.
The wind was recorded at a steady 30mph on the ridge, which
doesn't sound a lot for a 37lb aircraft, but the A-10 does
have a huge wing area at this scale. Four brave souls
hoisted her aloft (with a grunt) at a more favourable area
of the slope which was free from fences, and with a nod
through his goggles, Andy initiated the launch. The
"Hog" got away well from the launch, but never
achieved flying speed and just ran out of
steam before reaching the lift band proper, and she pancaked
onto the top of the ridge. Damage was fairly limited,
looking a lot worse than it really was, but spirits were
unbroken. Andy has already repaired the Hog and
included some airframe and balance point tweaks - she sits
ready for a big slope with big winds again.
Tom Cooke made the most of the conditions
once the rain had cleared through, and put in numerous
flights with his Jet Provost and Hawk - conditions well
suited to these type of models. Having held the JP
meet only last year there are still a lot of these models complete
and flying well of course, Bob Jennings, Phil Cooke and John
Hey provided entertainment with their examples with
follow-the-leader and synchronized aerobatics over the
beach, keeping passers-by enthralled despite them being
dampened by the odd shower.
Steve Mclaren's little Folland Gnat
(built from the Alan Hulme plan) had it's successful maiden
at the Orme earlier in the year, but Steve is still fine
tuning the balance point with his more scale-like wing planform.
Within a couple of flights Steve had it really well
dialled-in, flashing through some superb aerobatics, her
fluorescent colour scheme showing up fantastically when the
clouds were overhead. Well done Steve, an inspiring
build this one!
As the afternoon progressed more and more
pilots de-rigged ready for the long dive home, with everyone
having enjoyed some long flights with a vast array of
aircraft. More photos from this event can be seen
HERE and post event forum comments with photos and
videos can be viewed
HERE. Another year, and another successful Lleyn
Peninsula PSSA event drew to a close. As always, we
are ever grateful for the use of the Lleyn MAC's slopes for
the weekend and we extend our thanks to the club and those committee
members who help ensure it all runs smoothly.
Having added a new event to the calendar
for September it is only a short wait now until our next meet - a
first for the PSSA at the Bwlch, near Treorchy, in South
Wales on 19th and 20th. More details on the PSSA
Events Page. We hope to see you there!