Home The News Flying and Strip Repairs, March 1st 2009
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Flying and Strip Repairs, March 1st 2009 E-mail
Written by Trevor Barton   
Tuesday, 03 March 2009 18:46

Flying and Strip Repairs, March 1st 2009

Trevor Barton


Well the first of March dawned sunny, warm and calm, so some of us decided it was way past time for a trip to the strip - the first of the year for many in the club, only bettered by two of our more senior members who are obviously made of sterner stuff than us young 'uns.

Graham, and I turned up after lunch to find Stephen riding round on the mower, rolling the strips.  It actually turned out to be a bit windier by the time we'd arrived than it had been in the morning, but, undeterred, we pulled a couple of models out.  I opted to fly my Orion-E, seeing as it was my first flight for well over two months, but on checking it just before launch I discovered that the elevator linkage had come unstuck sometime over the winter, and, having repaired that, the elevator servo itself gave up the ghost!  So, back in the car with that, and out with the trusty Cularis.  Stephen and bought his large 3m Graphit, and Graham had a bunch of models in the back of his car, but settled for the FunJet he'd bought from Pete Evans at the AGM bring'n'buy.

Cularis and Graphit Graham and FunJet

Anyway, we had the obligatory cup of tea and a fly each, and then another cup of tea, and thought about having another fly, and more tea and ...

Most of the time, though, we worked on the strips.  As our members will know, we had an invasion by cows near the end of last year, which completely destroyed the strips we had spent a lot of time and effort preparing over the past couple of years.  The ground was very soft at the time, and they left hoof-prints everywhere, many of them 10cm diameter by at least that deep!  Not only that but they trampled the electric fence and destroyed the solar charger we had been using.  Since then, we have a new purpose-built fence which replaces the old electric one and is guaranteed to keep the cattle out, and it's now left us with the task of repairing the fence before the new flying season really gets off to a, umm, flying start.

Some work had been done at the tail end of last year, mainly on the main strip (White), which was the least damaged.  We'd filled most of the holes with the help of a few hardy volunteers, and rolled it as much as the wet conditions at the time allowed.  This time, we started by mowing and rolling it again, and filling a few more holes, and thankfully that strip is pretty well back in shape - it's certainly flyable, although there are still a few holes to fill, mainly at the top end.  The we did the same for the northern strip (Blue, if you know the strip names).  This one will need a bit more work, it was quite badly damaged, but more on that later.

Stephen on the Mower, Yee Haaaaaa ...

Finally we started work on the southern strip, Red.  That one was by far the worst of them all - it gets very wet after a spell of rain and really suffered from the cows walking on it.  It soon became clear that mowing and rolling wasn't going to work, not for a long time anyway.  Then some clever clogs came up with the idea of using Graham's Landrover as a roller!  Well, that worked a treat.  The technique was pretty simple, in theory.  All Graham had to do was drive down the strip, back up the other side, and then back down exactly six inches from where he last drove down.  And repeat.  And repeat. And repeat.

Well, it worked!  We figured out the technique in the end.  First Graham did his stuff with the Landrover.  Then Stephen followed after with the mower and roller.  The Landrover was heavy enough to squash most of the holes, but it left ridges down the strip.  The mower then did a pretty good job of flattening the ridges, and left the strip in a pretty good shape.

Landy on the strip. Landy and mower. Landy and mower.

The last picture shows the final effect.  The strip looks almost as good as new!  Graham did more than 5 miles in all, up and down the strip, but it was well worth it and the strip's well on its way to being repaired.  We're going to repeat the exercise on the northern runway, Blue, sometime later on.