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Activities & News

By | August 14, 2019

Please feel free to post something and photos about what you are doing in the club or where you have been flying. Please choose at least 1 category, E.g. Activities for your post to help others find it.

Devon Glider Day 18th July 2021

By | July 19, 2021

Morning everyone, DGD went ahead yesterday in warm sunny conditions but flying was not brilliant. The clear blue sky made seeing models at height difficult, added to that the easterly breeze produced very little lift. Having said that, the small gathering enjoyed plenty of chat and of course the views were stunning.  Check out our Gallery

Two potential new members arrived to watch proceedings plus a very nice couple holidaying from the Isle of Man, both fly gliders but preferred slope soaring the island’s hills. I have attached a YouTube link to a recent video of that very couple doing some pretty extreme soaring on the island.

On another tack we will be resuming monthly club meetings at the Kingsteignton Council Hall as before from the first Monday in September, I will give more details nearer the time and of course the then current Covid situation will have to be considered. For any new members, these are generally just informal gatherings, have a coffee, bring a model and chat etc.

On yet another tack the club is installing a couple of small Beware Model Flying notices at the entrances to the LH strip, this is to satisfy one of the safety requirements of a risk assessment. Hopefully these will not be disturbed in any way.


PS: Sorry if your glider flight is not included but my camera had to leave early. Robert

Old Phoney – Part 4 covering and completion

By | June 22, 2021

There’s something rather satisfying about the first time it all comes together, wings, fuse, legs, and tail feathers, and pinning the control surfaces on. Pre-covering photos seem to be a bit of a tradition:

I covered the wings in Diacov 1000 from Sarik Hobbies which is an “Extra-lightweight iron-on polyester fabric” probably rather like Solartex or Oratex but I’d never used one of those so it was all rather new to me. It cost £33 for 3 metres by 73cm which John says is expensive but I must say it goes on like a dream. Just stretchy enough to wrap around compound curves when warm but adds tremendous rigidity after cooling, shrinks perfectly and looks great. Slightly translucent and slightly more so when varnished. I used polyurethane spray for the wings and brushed on the tail. Spray looks much better.


I cut the signwriting out of film covering and ironed it on before varnishing. Adhesion was really good.

For the fuselage I used cheap-as-chips transparent dark purple from Ali Express. The roll arrived damaged and their customer service was rubbish but enough of the film was useable and the value for money was great. Covering the stringers was probably the most challenging film covering I’ve ever attempted – curves galore.

I’m hoping that Winnie the Pooh turns out to be a good pilot. Apparently he’s had quite a bit of practice flying balloons with Piglet.

Installing the radio gear was pretty uneventful but the lightweight snakes I’d bought from SLEC weren’t up to the job at all. In the very short distance between the tube ends and the control horns they bent all over the place so I had to use piano wire instead. Fortunately the runs were fairly straight and the wire quite light.

On advice from model designer Peter Miller I went for zero angle of attack, zero tailplane angle, and zero down thrust. Although I did add a bit of right thrust and because of the high wing I have a sneaky feeling I will have to add quite a bit of down thrust so the removable cowl will probably need modifying – pretty easy.

The entire motor set up, the servos, and u/c hardware came from George at 4-max who provided great service and advice. SLEC provided great balsa and plywood. Thanks also go to John Harvey for encouragement and Cliff Harvey for inspiration and tips – particularly on laminating balsa curves, and Martin Tonkins for motor chat.


So there we are, my first vintage model. But in truth, of course. Although she looks old. She has no vintage whatsoever. In fact, she’s nothing but an Old Phoney.


Turns out the u/c legs weren’t up to the job so I made a more substantial pair. The wire braces still broke so I switched over to using bowden cable and steel springs – seems to be fine now.

Here she is with new legs.

Test flights are going well. I’ve added down thrust and mixed elevator with the throttle. Her speed range is impressive from fast enough right down to extremely slow. Even with full down flaps and holding in full up elevator she doesn’t seem to stall, certainly doesn’t drop a wing anyway. Shortest landing roll I’ve managed was 3 metres in still air.

Little Haldon Site Rules

By | June 16, 2021

Some of you may be aware the club has applied to BMFA for a ‘Site Permit’. This will be (if granted) to allow us to fly models over 7.5kgs above 400ft, and we think will last the season. There may be a requirement for a NOTAM (notice to airmen) as well but we are not sure yet. However, when we hold our open Glider Days models may turn up that are over the weight limit for above 400ft and of course some of us regularly fly such models.

When filling in the necessary forms for this application we also needed to accompany the info with a list of ‘site rules’ and a risk assessment. As we did not have definitive club rules for LH we had to come up with some. These are now on this website on the Club Documents and Safety & Incidents pages and can also be viewed by clicking on this link. Please have a read.

Hopefully you will agree the rules only reflect what we all practice already so no need to panic. The rules and risk assessment will be reviewed as required.

We may also need to put some form of signage up (with permission) to warn the public of model flying, we envisage these to be permanent low profile and at key entry points.

Although we have always prided ourselves as being an ‘informal club’ with the advent of Article16 and other legalities and restrictions, we now have to demonstrate a degree of responsibility and compliance, so please bear with us on this, the majority is only common sense.



Informal Aero-tow Sunday 30th June

By | June 3, 2021

Hi all, to anyone wondering how things went at LH last Sunday. Here’s a quick resume’. Steve Thorne and Graham arrived bright and early with their tugs and towing commenced circa 10:30 in a not too pleasant easterly and fairly brisk to boot.  My first tow with the Solution was exceedingly hairy as the dolly bounced the model off on the rough ground and I just managed to get away without striking the ground with both wing tips..phew! As can be expected the lift was lacking and flights were short. However by lunch time the wind was easing with more south and we changed to the N to S runway…much better for the 7 glider pilots and the tug pilots were very busy. A technicality with a tug meant a replacement tug was put into service and away we went again. David, a complete beginner to aerotow, accepted the chance to experience a couple of  launches with a 4 metre Alpina and thoroughly enjoyed it, so who knows may be we have another fan of this aspect of flying, although he is also dreaming of towing, check out his Old Phoney on this website.

By 3pm people were packing up their gear and heading off after a fun day. I have also to say that although contributions to the cost of fuel etc were volunteered our sterling tug pilots refused to take a cent..how generous was that? Many thanks.



Check out the Gallery for more pics from the day.

Old Phoney – Part 3 the fuselage

By | May 20, 2021

Just as the wing was my first without span-wise sheeting – this is my first fuselage without sheet sides. But, as it turns out, there’s something rather satisfying about longerons, stringers, and all the fiddly bits in between.  And when you’re REALLY enjoying a build, anything that makes it take longer just means the pleasure lasts longer.

What are they called? Those curved bits that hold stringers in place? I have no idea but they seemed like a good place to start. Cut out of balsa they’d be bound to split, and terribly weak, so I cut the shapes out of 1/64” ply then glued 1/16” balsa copies either side but with the grain in opposing directions. Light, stiff, and strong. Not a bad start:

Next job was to cut out the 1/32” ply doublers. I copied their rather weird outline using the old ‘pin prick’ method. I remember being 13 and getting into terrible trouble for doing that in a school woodwork lesson. “But it works so well” I exclaimed. The teacher wasn’t convinced. Evidently it was not ‘the done thing’. Cutting them out with a scalpel was a bit hard on the fingers but it gives such a clean cut compared to the scroll saw or fret saw:

(The weird bit sticking out above the cabin is because I’d not yet decided how to build that part – just leaving my options open).

Because the longerons had to be ¼” square, but hard balsa and very curved, I laminated two 1/8” x ¼” strips instead. (the ‘Cliff Harvey effect’ again). With the help of a weak solution of household ammonia (to loosen the wood fibres) they bent quite easily and were glued after drying:

All the fiddly bits went together well with soft ¼” sheet infills at the front:

Whilst making the formers I had the idea of incorporating a tow release which I incorporated into F3 so the mechanism terminated just behind the wing:



The cabin top was a bit of a challenge.
I don’t like the look of wing bands that go to a dowel below the cabin so the cabin top needed to be strong enough to cope with pulling quite a bit of G force without the front wing dowels giving way. I tested the strength of a 15mm projection of 6mm dowel by sticking it in the vice hanging a 12kg weight off it. It didn’t break. But whatever they were glued to needed to be equally strong. But the shape was complicated. Hmm…
In the end I carved and sanded a block of 12mm birch ply to shape. It’s curved in two directions; top view to match the screen wrap-around; side view to match the airfoil; and V-shaped in the front view (to match the wing dihedral) and epoxied to three layers of 1/16″ ply on each side, all just 6mm thick:

The diagonal bracing and turtle deck stringers were most satisfying:

…and making the battery hatch and removable cowl:

Almost ready for covering!

Article 16 update

By | May 20, 2021

The BMFA have issued an update on Article 16 which I think is a further slight change / relaxation of regulations for BMFA members Whereas the ‘open category’ has fairly restrictive regulations, the CAA have recognised the safe flying of BMFA members and other  model flying organisations. The main differences seem to be related to maximum heights and minimum age for pilots. The updated BMFA Quick Start Guide can be found hear https://rcc.bmfa.uk/article-16/quick-start-guide


Old Phoney – Part 2 the wing build

By | May 14, 2021

Like most of my designs, the Old Phoney is a combination of ideas gleaned from other designs with a handful of my own thrown in for good measure. The wing shape is a cross between Black Magic and PD Parasol but the construction is completely different. Also the ailerons are much bigger and almost full-length. I figured that large surfaces with small deflections are probably more efficient than small surfaces with big deflections. I also wanted the ailerons to provide variable camber (flaperons) to (hopefully) give a wide range of possible airspeeds from ‘slow half-power vintage-style’ right through to ‘flat-out throwing it about a bit’. The aerofoil section is semi-symmetrical copied from the PD Parasol and Peter Miller’s Peggy Sue II – both very manoeuvrable models. I also wanted a smallish amount of dihedral – partly for looks but also to give me the option of flying rudder/elevator which I still like to do sometimes – but not so much dihedral that manoeuvrability was compromised.

Lightweight slightly aerobatic high-wings often gain rigidity by having struts (e.g. Cub J3). I wanted the rigidity without the struts so I added a bit of weight in the form of a couple of 8mm carbon tubes I had left over from a previous build. The additional weight was about equal to the weight saved by not having metal wing joiners. The tubes were so stiff I thought I’d get away without having LE sheeting. Some strength was gained by having capped ribs which I’d not done before. So here we go…

Started by pinning down two 1/4 sq hard balsa spars with slotted 3/16 sheet at the back

…added the LE and laminated tips

…then built the ailerons in situ, added the TE, and capping strip except where the wing joiners still had to be fitted

I joined the wing halves with 1/8 ply braces, a long one on the center spars, a long one to bridge the weak spots where the center-section sheet ended and the ailerons started, and a very short one epoxied behind the carbon rods. This is the point where I was just about to bury the servo extension leads under 1/16 sheet

I left it at this point and started work on the fuselage but something was bugging me. I’ve never covered a big wing that lacks LE sheeting and started to worry about how much the fore/aft tension of the Diacov 1000 (rather like Solartex) might sag between the capped ribs. It would only have sag by 1/16″ to come into contact with the front spar which would spoil the shape of the airfoil section between all the ribs. In the end I decided to add eighteen short ‘ribs’ as seen below:

Short ribs added, plus LE, TE, and laminated tips roughly sanded. I really like the look of the tip-ribs and with the laminated tips they are really strong but light.

The uncovered wings are plenty stiff enough spanwise but still twist quite easily. Fortunately the info about the covering from Sarik Hobbies says that Diacov 1000 “substantially reinforces all structures to which it is applied without stretching too much”. So all should be well. Now back to the fuselage…

Safety & Incidents

By | May 13, 2021

Dear members and visitors, we ask that you take a few moments to read the new “Safety & Incidents” page compiled by the club committee. A number of incidents have happened since we have come out of lockdown, crashing into pit area, crashing outfield etc. Safety must be our priority to each other and to the public who could be anywhere walking around Little Haldon visible or out of view. The new page provides guidance on how to be safe and lawful; and provides links to the BMFA site for further detail and instructions on how to report an incident.

DSSC Committee.


Old Phoney – Part 1 ideas taking shape

By | May 6, 2021

I thought I’d take a break from designing gliders and build a (powered) vintage classic along the lines of the Junior 60, something light and slow but 4-channel rather than 3.

I found a plan for the 4 channel Super 60 but it’s boxy fuselage shape and angular fin just didn’t ‘do it’ for me so I started wading through the Outerzone plans website. I found the 4 channel PD Parasol and got quite excited about it! But, although it’s tail shapes looked beautiful, its fuselage shape (convex top and bottom) was not my (pre-conceived) idea of a vintage classic. Then I found the lovely curvy fuselage outlines of the Deacon and the Viking and the lovely wing shapes of the Dot I, and Black Magic.

PD Parasol

The Deacon








There were quite a few 3 channel designs that I really liked the look of but my heart was set on having aileron control for some slow, low-energy, aerobatics with half-decent rolls. An aerobatic vintage design called the Over & Under caught my attention but I couldn’t see any way that its fully symmetrical section would give a low sink rate when compared to the flat bottomed Super 60 or the semi-symmetrical PD Parasol. I almost decided to just build a PD Parasol exactly as per plan but I definitely didn’t want a one-piece model and I couldn’t visualise an attractive and lightweight way of adapting the parasol and struts to a banded-on wing. I also want something slightly bigger than 60”.

So, I embarked on producing a new vintage-hybrid design along these lines:
Semi-symmetrical wing section of the PD Parasol with strip ailerons as per the Super 60.
Curvey fuselage of the Deacon/Cardinal but a little extra nose length and diagonal bracing.
Tail feathers copied directly from the PD Parasol which to me look perfect.
Wing shape similar to Black Magic.
Approx. 10” chord, 70” wingspan, 40” fuselage.
Electric power (I found the 4-max website. What a great resource!)

Out of respect for Roger Jones’s RCM&E Forum comment “designing your own ‘vintage’ model is a bit phoney”, I decided to call her the ‘Old Phoney’.

Buying the servos, there was a special offer on five. That got me thinking “what could I use the 5th servo for?” then the penny dropped – a tow release.

The plans are still being tweaked but here’s a recent version:

Inspired by Cliff Harvey’s videos on YouTube, I started by laminating the wing tips and tail:

Then found an old bit of 3mm ali for the u/c: