Monday, 19 January 2009

Watering Eyes!

Fed up with difficult access to the Hexham Field due to Northumberland bearing the brunt of supplying the North East with water in 2008, Sadfly and Flygeek decided to try slope soaring. Now this decision is not taken lightly, slope soarers are a known wild race which doesn’t take to strangers easily! They are fiercely protective of the secrets of their dark art, but the intrepid duo managed to gleam that you require 2 things - a slope and an airframe.
A kind farmer allowed them access to a slope overlooking Hadrians Wall. If nothing else, this was going to be an attractive walk. Sadfly already had an Easy Star in an attic ready for revival and keen to avoid any cost, this would do. On the basis that it would be easy to repair when inevitably broken, an Easy Glider was purchased by Flygeek.
After much exhaustive research the intrepid duo learned that after reaching the top of the slope, the gliders, in our case the Easy Star (which was both) and the Easy Glider (which was neither), were to be thrown off. If the wind is in the right direction, the models fly upwards and backwards. Actually, the Easy Star penetrated the light Northumberland breeze (40 mph) and was happily flying in a most lively fashion along the slope. 40 minutes later when Flygeek had returned from retrieving the Easy Glider from the valley behind, it was doing some nicely controlled aerobatics.
So, the pair learned that you actually need 3 things, ballast being the 3rd! The Easy Star with it's sub C cells was perfect, but the Easy Glider needed the insertion of a 6mm threaded rod into the wing spar. Now fully ballasted, the Easy Glider was able to stay in the lift along the slope but with it's tail twisting alarmingly in the 40 mph winds, control was occasional and hopeful rather than accurate.

It was at this point they discovered the major problem that slope soarers don't tell you about! Watering Eyes! Was this from staring in manic concentration into a gale? No - it was from the manic laughter that slope soaring induces. Do try it.