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F5B Practice Day June 2016

Steve preps his two Speedfires
Steve preps his two Speedfires

After days of low cloud and drizzle sweeping in from the North Sea the forecast look promising for a practise day at Thame .

Josef and Greg had planned to hop over to Holland and Belgium for two competitions over the weekend. However, an indifferent weather forecast meant a big practice session at home was the order of the day.

Low cloud at the Thame site meant flying could not start until about 11am. Very quickly conditions improved. Soon blue sky was appearing and the cloud base start to lift. Planes were made ready and the pits came alive with activity.

Steve Burns did manage to find the limit of visibility on his second flight when he punched up after he had complete his 10 sets. Steve made a great recovery and his Raspberry Ripple coloured Speedfire 2 soon reappeared out of the cloud base.

Steve, Dick, Josef and Greg all had two planes set up. So this allowed them to fly two flights in each session at the flight line. Steve W and Keith were very much in testing mode and joined into the sessions at the beginning for trimming and set up work.

After the first two sessions. So 4 flights for the chaps with two planes. We started to take it a bit more seriously and count the laps.

As stated in the report from Round 2 of the league. Some fields can produce fast conditions. The field at Thame being one of these fields.

Steve and Josef flew either 48/49 and 50 laps with great consistency. Jo hitting 51 laps at one point but he was honest enough to admit he had used plenty of Wmins.

Dick’s improvement in the last competition continued and he hit 47 laps with a really smooth flight coached by Steve.

Jo fitting the 3 blade to his plane
Jo fitting the 3 blade to his plane

After some issues with switches and wiring Steve Wilkie was ready to go and tested the three blade prop from GM. It was quiet and very smooth. Steve flew two flights on the course and looked really good considering his long lay-off from F5B flying. Steve went straight in with a couple of 42 lappers. Very controlled and smooth.

Keith flew his plane several times but his ESC did not seem to respond to the efforts made to tame the barking of the prop down. So it was decided more set up work was required. Keith looked very comfortable with his plane and the speed was no problem for him.

We flew to about  5pm. Dick was the first to say well I have had enough and it is time to go home. I suppose after 6 to 8 flights by most of the pilots we were all starting to feel tired.

Conclusions from the day are. Given the right weather the new standard for Steve and Jo is 48 laps. 49 and 50 laps are possible if no mistakes are made. Steve looks mighty fast with his new planes and the Speedfire suits his flying style. Steve seems very comfortable with his set up on 10s.


Jo was fast from the start and considering he had a few technical issues manage to stay very focused. It would have been easy to get distracted and lose concentration.

Dick has improved without question and 44/45 laps was his par for the day. His PB of 47 shows what Dick can achieve if no mistakes are made.

Steve Wilkie Ready For The F5B Car Boot
Steve Wilkie Ready For The F5B Car Boot

Steve W and Keith made steady progress through the day and learnt some good things about getting their planes competition ready. Steve W will PB this year for sure as he looked so comfortable and in control on his two flights on the course.

Now we have a number of people using the 18 x 23 prop on 9s. It is possible to see the differences between 9s and 10s and the props we have available to us. This is helped by Steve, Greg, Alan and Dick all flying Speedfire’s. 10s has more punch and gets the plane going really quickly. Allowing for a very tight flight pattern during the motor on stage. 9s requires a wider motor on stage to get the plane to a similar speed as 10s. However, it is very energy efficient on the Wmins giving more run time from the motor thus making duration in bad air more certain to achieve.

On a float day 10s may be the ultimate set up we have available to us with the props  we use. 9s is a great all round set up for UK weather conditions.

Hobby King has now delivered a batch of Graphene and BOLTS packs. So we are currently build these up as 9S packs and will report back at after the next comp to see how they perform v 10s.

About Greg Lewis

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