Sunday, 22 November 2009

Extreme Tea Drinking - at 500' !

Here is a must-see from Ben Ashman's YouTube channel.

experiments with a map on one leg

I have been experimenting with ways to navigate using only one leg for my map....and the simplest is to photocopy 1:1 my map and assemble and laminate a slice 17cm (approx 25 st.miles) deep x 60cm in length (allowing for a flight of 75 st. miles E-W or vice versa) and wrap it around my leg (and ends joined with velcro) in a tube which can be rotated around my leg.

I have also made a prototype "window", secured to my flying suited leg top and bottom, which will direct airflow over the map to stop it lifting, but which could also have scale on it, and which could provide, as this trial does, a 1/2 hr or 17mile (at trim speed) view. It is made from A5 laminate sheet and secured with sticky-backed velcro.The window might over-complicate things though.

To keep your place you could even have a magnetic circle on the window-top and a metal disc inside the window, then slide the circle to approx position before doing other things.

This slice allows for a flight from Rougham to Sywell, taking in Sutton Meadows and Sackville.

Incidentally, no map was harmed in the making of this prototype. (well, strictly speaking, a 2006 map of Poland was sacrificed. It was rescued from a Flylight skip after the championships)

Another method would have to be employed if flying a similar distance N-S. I have a few cunning plans in mind, like a variation on this instructable, which I have made, which takes up a space on the leg of roughly A6 *(see note), yet can accommodate 75 miles in any direction. But this can get complicated to use, and will need
development ....especially if I am to use it with gloves on). It involves flaps folding left to right or up and down, variously.

* Note
ref A6. This is the size of A4 folded in half twice; I have also folded an A3 map to do something similar - though in both cases this solution requires more folds than that and includes a cut or two, so don't use originals unless you are a wealthy flier

Saturday, 21 November 2009

RT kit

I am blogging less, as sitting here is bad for my back...and I want to save that for when it is less windy!

But while not flying I have been thinking about communications. Buying RT kit is a nightmare of variables and expense. First you need the right radio, then, they will tell you, an interface (at a further couple of hundred pounds), then headphones....the whole lot costing easily £600 or so. - and no two pieces of kit necessarily automatically compatible with each you have to think well ahead. Well, here I tried to think outside the box, and with friends' advice, concluded that an SSDR pilot is really a slightly scaled up paramotor pilot, so I don't need an interface. I just need paramotoring headphones with a two pin plug which connects straight to a radio.

I have bought a second hand, but very well regarded Icom IC-A22E and after a very great deal of to and froing, bought an ex-demo pair of Microavionics headphones, with side tone (so you can hear your own voice transmitting - therefore no need to shout) and with a year's guarantee and the assurance that any mods or alterations to be done by the manufacturers will be FoC! That great deal comes from Alan Thomson, a fellow teacher, as it happens.

RT comes in at well under £300, even having bought a charger from ICOM, which is quite a result! I haven't transmitted yet, but enjoyed monitoring Lizzie's radio calls when she was doing circuits a couple of weekends ago.

And along the way I have made a new mate, Steve Taft, who responded to my Mayday on the BMAA forum and has provided reassuring and sensible advice. And while most others responded by offering to sell me something, Steve offered the loan of some of his kit to experiment with and decide what sort of set-up I really want. I didn't take him up on his offer, but what a generous one it was.