Magic Hour

I have managed to accumulate a full hours flying time on the Sky Hawk. I have also added up a total of 11 successful flights. I count a successful flight as one where the plane doesn’t need to be repaired afterwards.

In the past two days I have attempted two flights in fairly windy conditions. The first one ended in disaster with the aircraft spinning into the ground very hard.  Luckily the plastic which the fuselage is made of bends back into shape easily and so it only took me half an hour to fix. The second flight (in an even stronger wind) was far more successful although the wings are very flexible and it is very nerve wracking to watch them bend quite as much as they do.

On the other hand,  it is great fun to fly in the wind. The plane shoots downwind really fast and crawls back upwind. In fact, yesterday, if I set the throttle just right I could hang in one place on the upwind leg and could have landed with no ground speed. As an aside, I would like to note that landing with no ground speed is not such a good idea in my opinion because if things go pear shaped I like to be able to fly away and go around again.

The most tricky part of flying in wind is turning from the downwind leg onto base leg and finally into the wind. Because the aircraft is going so fast after the downwind leg, the forces on the aircraft during theses turns are much higher than normal. The aircraft loses a lot of altitude because, in order to minimize the forces, I cannot pull back on the elevator too much. This maneuver requires a huge amount of patience and faith in aerodynamics because the aircraft appears as though it will descend too steeply and crash. The temptation here is to pull it out of the descent with the elevator but this causes the wings to flex too much which often leads to a crash. I find that the best approach is to allow the aircraft to lose the altitude and follow through with the turn while only applying the gentlest amount of up elevator (I need to make sure that I give myself enough space and height to do this). Throttling back before entering the turn also helps make the turn more gradual and controllable.  As the aircraft begins to turn into the wind, it will level out and start to climb again. This is the time to throttle back, depending on the wind strength, otherwise it will climb too steeply and stall.

It’s been raining today so I am hoping that the air will be very smooth and there will be no wind for my flights later.

Over and out…

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