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Hermanus Event Report 2011

AFC Hermanus Slope-Fly 2011 – Event Report

 

AFC Hermanus Slope Fly 2011 AFC Hermanus Slope Fly 2011

Well the months rolled by and the slope fly fraternity offered prayers and sacrifices to the aviation gods for fair winds this year. The last weekend of November rolled into view and things really looked good!

The usual advance party arrived at Rotary Way on Friday 25th November to scout out the slopes and prepare the way for the annual influx of slope fly addicts. Word had got around that Windguru had dialled in the right amount of suitable puff and with the superb Friday weather, a larger than normal pre-event crowd arrived to test and probe the air. For the whole of Friday, the lift was superb and the PE Slope Rebels filled the sky with a myriad of Correx Mig 7s and proceeded to have an enormous amount of fun. Such is their enthusiasm for the promise of this slope weekend that they scrounged off work and arrived here a full day earlier than anyone else! What was amazing to see is how far they have taken the Correx slopie concept – the Mig 7 is the most well known of their planes, but they have also produced a stunning Corsair (complete with gull wing) and a gorgeous P51 styled after the “Miss America” Reno Racer. Well done guys!

The first “incident” of the event was recorded early on Friday afternoon. Simon and Lee (both AFC committee members) discovered the awkward truth that models don’t share airspace too well. The impact was loud and spectacular with shattered debris spiralling out of the sky. Both Simon’s Phase 4 and Lee’s Lavi suffered mortal injury unfortunately.

Phase 6 and Lavi Crash

Ulrich Meintjies arrived on Friday afternoon with his Big Mig – the monster Correx Mig 7 that he maidened last year at Hermanus. This year, Ulrich added a GoPro HD camera to the plane and he shot some amazing footage, especially when the Slope Rebels came out to play with their smaller Migs! Sadly, Ulrich’s Big Mig had a mid air with another plane and it went in hard. All the action, however, was recorded on the Go Pro which faithfully held together even in the considerable impact. Air Crash Investigations ala Hermanus 2011…

Ulrich's big Correx Mig7 Ulrich's big Correx Mig7

In between breaks from flying, we managed to erect the tents, park the ADT caravan and cordon off the no-fly zones and parking areas ready for the official first day on Saturday.The TOSSERS, in the meantime, having assembled their campsite, hauled out two of their glass Impalas decorated in TEAM TOSS colours.Kevin and his wingman put on a scintillating display in the mid afternoon, with monster half pipes that seemed to span the bay below us.The rest of the afternoon was pure distilled slope-fly magic, with perfect conditions and we flew until we were exhausted.

 

Team Toss Impala

We got off to an early start on Saturday with conditions almost a repeat of Friday.By pilot’s briefing time at 10:00, it was clear that attendance was up on previous years and probably close to 100 pilots had assembled.All manner of planes, from feather light Alulas through to big glass ships were able to fly at first, and the EPP war birds, Bees and Correx Mig squadrons assembled in their usually spot near the trig beacon on the front slope to indulge their fetish for combat.The increasingly ribald comments, victorious shouts and the clacking sounds of planes colliding was evidence enough that a good time was being had by all.

 

By late Saturday morning, however, things had begun to change.The wind began to pick up and so the smaller birds were grounded and the air space given over to the bigger planes.Well we remember last year’s demonstration flights put on in very scratchy conditions by Kevin, Damien, Christo and Bobby.This year the wind was much better and Kevin flew his big P38 Lightning along the front slope and he put on a superb solo display, before being joined by Damian’s razor back P51 ”Stump Jumper”.Christo got his P40 into the air too, and Bobby later also got his monster P51 D into the sky.Great flying, well presented aircraft and all safely down at the end too.

Bobby Purnell's P51 Kevin Farr's P38 Lightning going off for a sortie That P38 on patrol Damien's P51 Warbird formation

 

When the wind picked up around lunch time,Bobby Purnell managed to get a lot of air beneath the wings of his yellow Fox until a sudden nasty interference glitch persuaded him to bring the plane in.Fortunately, Shrek, with a little help from Bobby, managed to grease the landing and the Fox went back into the hangar without any further problems.The same can’t be said of the big Salto belonging to Chris Adrian.This achingly lovely V-tail was filling the sky with long swooping runs when, without warning, it appeared as if one of the wing joins had given way.The aircraft spiralled in minus a wing which fluttered down some moments later.This kind of incident is always a heart-rending sight and we hope that the damage was not too severe as the Salto had been flown with precision and was delivering faultless performance until those last moments.

 

Chris Adrian's Salto Bobby Purnell's 4m Fox getting airbourne

Part of the attraction of an event like this is simply seeing what other modellers are up to.Anton Benning’s range of EPP war birds is expanding and recent additions to his range include a P47 thunderbolt, a pre-production FW 190 (D) and a really sweet looking L-39 Albatross jet trainer.The Inland Slope Rebels in California have pushed the envelope with EPP-based PSS models but Anton’s technical skill and innovative ideas has meant that PSS fanciers don’t have to trawl the internet and shop overseas as a broad range of war bird PSS kits are available right here in South Africa.The beauty of these EPP slopies is that not only are they durable enough to survive rigorous combat, they can also can also be finished to a high degree of scale detail.Certainly the rough-hewn look of “stand off and squint scale” is now ancient-history!

 

Martin Venn brought his monster Hawk with him and we watched him spend what seemed like close on an hour and a half rigging this impressive beast.Apparently weighing in at close to 18kg, the 10 year old model is just BIG.4 servos handle the ailerons and flaps and it takes three brave guys to launch.That said, in Martin’s hands, the model simply defied gravity and seemed to come to life.Martin put on a spirited display for us with the big Hawk making a number of inverted close fly-bys.The old adage that the bigger models tend to fly better was amply borne out by Martin’s skilled handling of the plane in conditions that had begun to look fierce.

Martin Venn with the Big Hawk The Big Hawk in the hands of a master

 

One model that caught my eye was simplicity itself.The wings were lengths of folded Correx, so too was the V tail, and all were mated to a fuselage fashioned from a length of angled aluminium strip.Pop rivets and cable ties ensured that all parts stayed put and although the result may sound a little agricultural, the plane was pleasing enough on the eye and, once in the air, it looked like an American “Predator” drone.It flew well too.

 

Simplicity itself

By mid afternoon, the wind was whipping through at a huge rate and the radio masts (having claimed another victim) were swaying and humming.A red and carbon black Rodent was seen chewing insanely huge loops out of the sky, but one by one even the glass slippery ship owners decided to call it a day before the repair bills started to roll in.

 

Sunday doomed gloomy at first and a few of the early risers were tempted to pack in and head home.Fortunately, however, the threatened rain held off and those who made it to the slope early enough, were greeted by the site of big floaters dawdling around in the sky.Marc Wolffe took advantage of the calm air to get his Air Cadets Slingsby T31 Tandem Tutor into the air.This scale model of an ab-initio trainer was put through its paces by Marc and it handled the changing conditions superbly.There is something about the air presence of a vintage style glider, and Marc flew it in a suitably scale manner for nearly an hour before the wind strength started to make things hairy.

 

Marc Wolffe's Slingsby T31 Trainer

By lunch time, it looked like we were going to be blown out.The wind sock was swollen and only a few big speedy glass ship owners seemed to want to come out to play.After some consultation, however, the AFC committee decided that we couldn’t come all that way and NOT have a go at the spot landing competition.Whether anyone would be able to land once having launched was another question, but a group of enthusiastic souls took on Bobby’s challenge.Safety officer Simon suffered his second collision of the event when he was felled by a BEE travelling at Mach plenty.Fortunately, the BEE wasn’t damaged and could take part in the competition.Simon, however, was a bit dazed and had to retire from being a spot landing judge!Eventual winner was Christo, who managed to slam his foamy very firmly into the absolute centre of the landing mat.Well done!

 

With the spot landing competition done and dusted, all that remained was the prize giving.Yet again, the generosity of the sponsors saw a number of participants go home suitably rewarded with new planes, crash kits or accessories.It is for good reason that AFC Hermanus Slope-Fly is the premier slope event in the country.Superb organisation, much behind-the-scenes hard work and an abundance of good will makes this the highlight of the flying year.Thanks to everyone who contributed.2012’s event promises to be a blast too.

The slope waiting for action

Text: Mike Hagemann

Photos:Mike Hageman, web conversion by Jacques du Toit

The slope waiting for action Mig 15 Packing 32 aeries into an UNO with 2 blokes