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Anti-lockdown therapy

Roger Mole

Cross Country Pilot
#1
So how have you managed to stay sane through lockdown? We've been locked down for the second time since the start of November and would you believe it, every day bar only one or two (seriously) has been a perfect flying day with high pressure, clear blue sky and no wind. We've just received a bulletin saying that from 28th November through to 15th December when our lockdown will be lifted we will be authorised to do limited personal flights - solo (or with a member from the same household), no further than 20kms from home base and for a maximum of 3 hours. And the insurance companies have said that they will definitely not pay out for any incident involving a pilot not strictly observing the rules.

But I digress. One of the ways I've managed to stay sane is by flying my quadcopters (drones to the oiks). I took it up at the beginning of the last lockdown and I now enjoy it very much as it allows me to produce creative videos and in the longer term I'm hoping to combine videos made with both my quadcopters and my aircraft (which is why I renamed my Youtube channel). The first good quality quad that I bought was a Hubsan Zino H117S. I acquired it while I was awaiting delivery of my preferred model, my Fimi X8 SE 2020. The Zino only has a range of 1 km but produces HQ 4K videos whereas the Fimi does likewise but with a range of 8 km. Technically we can't use that in France because all flghts must be with the quad in sight, but because I live in an extremely rural area, I do push that a bit.

My Zino's batteries have deteriorated to the extent that I've ordered replacements so in the meantime, I've been flying almost exclusively using my Fimi. There are fairly strict rules about where and how you can fly drones in France. If I fly from my garden, I can't fly over any local groups of houses and although the maximum is 150 m, I'm limited to a height of 50 m locally. Here's a video that I shot from my front garden a few weeks ago.


And here's another that I did just yesterday and uploaded a few moments ago.


Just to finish off, here's one last video that contains both drone and more conventional footage that I think I put up on the old forum, but this is for those who missed it. It shows a snapshot of local life here with all of the neighbours rallying round to pick the grapes in my next-door neighbour's small vineyard. We were rewarded with a hearty lunch that started at 12.30 pm (after drinks naturally) and was still going strong when I left thoroughly sozzled at 5.00 pm. I was as sick as a dog later-on but by heck was it worth it!

 
#2
Lovely videos Roger.
Sanity projects during lockdown for me:
https://hamradiostore.co.uk/kx3-k-hf-6m-transceiver-kit.html
https://www.vintagemodelcompany.com/
https://www.greyhoundtrust.org.uk/
So I've been pretty busy and spent a good proportion of my flying budget on other things. The dog predates lockdown by a long way, but she got more walks!
I've found this second month of lockdown (last day today!) much harder than the first in the spring. It's all getting to be a bit of a slog now.
I thought I'd enjoy planning great flying adventures for summer 2021 but haven't found that helpful. I just hope we are able to have some.
 

Peter Twissell

Cross Country Pilot
#3
For me, it's been a mix of engine building - one Jabiru and one twin engined LSR bike, and model aircraft building and flying.
More recently, my wife has decided we should redecorate.
 

Roger Mole

Cross Country Pilot
#4
Morning Martin, very interesting. When I was a lad I had an older cousin, gone but not forgotten now, bless him, who was into radio projects and he encouraged me to get involved. I made a couple of items, it was cat's whiskers, listening on head phones and all that stuff back in those days but I never took off with it. It got me used to soldering small jobs though and since then I've done other projects, like the microprocessor jobbie that I put into my Savannah to control when the hour meter starts and stops running. I also built a Sinclair stereo amp many years ago. How long have you been a ham? Do you still have to learn morse etc to get a licence these days?
I also identify very much with the model aircraft building. I was heavily into it as a youngster and once when we moved house my mother made me dispose of all my models that had been filling my bedroom. It broke my heart when I gave them away to friends but I continued and went on to powered control line models. That began to come to an end when a fellow member of the club I was in was showing off with one of my aircraft and smashed it into the ground. We later moved again and it all then fizzled out but would you believe I disposed of two aircraft that I'd had in my loft from those days when I came to France and still have two diesel motors, a 1.5cc and a 2.5cc, that I had then. They must be vintage now!
A pal over here built a large RC aircraft and was going to fly it having never flown one before. I suggested that he acquired a cheap trainer first as otherwise he'd probably end up destroying his beautiful new model the first day out. In fact I got hold of one, a foam electrically powered one from China and flew it for a couple of weeks before giving it to him. Tricky to learn but great fun. He lost it up trees a couple of times before retrieving it when the wind blew it down but ended up damaging it beyond repair and I don't think he's ever flown the large one he built himself.
Congratulations with your dog. There's a greyhound rescue kennel in Harvel in Kent not far from the field where I flew my Xair out of before bringing it to France. I don't have a dog now but brought a Springer with me who passed on in his 16th year the year after I arrived. I still miss him terribly and friends here who themselves have two rescue dogs have been encouraging me ever since to get one myself and I've come so close to doing so, especially this year with the lockdowns.
Thanks for your post. It brought back lots of good memories for me.
Morning Peter, how's the Jab rebuild going?Are you close to finishing now? Sorry to see from another post that your licence has now lapsed but I guess it shouldn't take too much effort to get it back again? It seems that quite a few of our fraternity were/are into model aircraft. I hadn't realised. Good luck with your projects and especially the redecorating. I recently put in a new patio door which was interrupted by the latest lockdown here and I need to finish off and am waiting the delivery in the next few days of some replacement double glazed windows for my bedrooms and bathroom. I've made a promise to myself that once I've installed them I'm going to follow through and do the redecorating in all three rooms that I've put off doing for so long. Can't wait - yes, right...
 

Peter Twissell

Cross Country Pilot
#5
Morning Roger, the Jab rebuild is progressing slowly. The crankshaft is being crack tested and reground to match the new main bearing shells. The heads are ready to fit, with new valves and guides installed.
As soon as I get the crank and cases back, I will be in a position to begin re-assembly.
I'm not too worried about re-validating my license. After a long period with no flying, I need to spend some time with an instructor anyway.
Model flying was a big thing for me in my youth - starting with rubber powered (the ubiquitous Keil Kraft kits) and on to control line, then eventually radio control. After a 40 year break for work and children, I have recently taken up model building and flying again. I enjoy building at least as much as flying, so it's all wooden models from kits, existing plans and my own designs. I have a set of drawings for the fullsize Clutton Fred which I am adapting to 1/4 scale.
I hope all goes well with your decorating. Our place is dated on the deeds as built in 1850. After stripping back the wallpaper, the plasterwork looks very much like some of the excavated buildings in Pompeii! I'm beginning to suspect our house may be a little older than 1850!
 

ginge

First Solo Pilot
#6
Apart from far more garden work I've restarted work on my Tiger Cub and have done some work on improving my very basic portuguese.
The garden is now a slightly smaller mess than before.
I made a start on experimenting with coverings on the Tiger Cub and have been doing some work on adapting the standard tailwheel to use on the Romain modified tail that mine has. I also stripped the two tailwheel suspension units that I have and cleaned them with the object of useing the best its after checking and crack testing.
My understanding of Portuguese is improving but I still can't follow much if they get enthusiastic.
Plenty of progress still to be made in all departments
 

Roger Mole

Cross Country Pilot
#7
My understanding of Portuguese is improving but I still can't follow much if they get enthusiastic.
Plenty of progress still to be made in all departments
Sounds a bit like my French Ginge. The problem is, if you can speak the local language reasonably well, as I can, they think that you are perfectly fluent and go off into rapid mode with local expressions etc, at which point you lose track. Because of that, a Dutch friend who's been here for over 20 years has a cunning plan (he says). He always still speaks French with a Dutch accent and makes mistakes and says that that way they know that you're foreign, think you're language skills are limited and treat you accordingly. Seems quite a good idea to me - but too late for me and my neighbours who now think that I'm one of them and often make me rely on knowing what's going on by only understanding half of what they're saying!
 
#8
I speak my Dutch/Flemish with an English accent these days - previously it had developed an Antwerp accent but that was decades ago. It tends to result in a blank look, a switch to English or on one memorable occasion "ik verstond er geen bol van!".

As to lockdown therapy, I've resurrected this lot after 20 years out of use.
Fortunately Ginge doesn't have to listen because I run it through headphones.
Synth-kit_lr.jpg

Edit: picture added. I don't know what happened first time round.
 
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Roger Mole

Cross Country Pilot
#9
As I was scrolling down with all the cables I first thought that it was an electric chair. I thought Blimey, Joan certainly keeps Ginge under tight control. Then I got to the keyboard .... and realised that it's just an instrument of torture :devilish:
I'll get my coat...
Actually that's based on my own experience. While I was recovering after chemo and couldn't go out into the hot summer of 2018 I bought myself a Yamaha keyboard vowing that I'd make good use of the time and learn to play it. Actually I never got past a very unproficient Twinkle Twinkle and now it's lying forlornly on the bed in my spare room. And I had such brilliant ideas as for what I was going to do with it too :confused:
 

Dave Morton

Student Pilot
#10
Luckily I only work a couple of days a week at my local Center Parcs and I've massively enjoyed being furloughed with the added bonus that my park will remain closed and I will remain on furlough until 1st January.
Most of my days have been spent build assisting a Zenair 650 which is nearing completion and now that we can fly (albeit no outlandings in our area) I intend to make the most before lockdown 3 arrives.
 

Mike Calvert

Moderator
Staff member
#11
I intend to make the most before lockdown 3 arrives.
Absolutely - think they've just approved a vaccine, but before that's widely available I suspect there will be a big post-Christmas lockdown to deal with the spike that all the additional travel and mixing permitted over the Christmas period is bound to create....
 

ginge

First Solo Pilot
#12
I'm afraid my Portugeuse is delivered slowly and with an english accent, so if i'm in the Algarve, where they are well used to folks from all over the world they reply politely in slow and simple Portugeuse. Other places they can tend to rattle through, so one of the first phrases you learn is "pode fala mais devagar por favor" then things slow down and gestures increase. I remember some years back stting on a seawall talking with a fisherman about the state of the fishing industry, he had almost no english and my portugeuse was even poorer than it is now. With plenty of gesticulation we understood each other well enough and our opinions on the way it was run seemed very similar. I'd not long had my license removed 'cos the Brits it seemed had too many and the Spanish had been awarded far bigger quotas than the Portugeuse. It was a pleasent interlude as I enjoyed the warmth and he worked on his gear.
 
#13
...Actually I never got past a very unproficient Twinkle Twinkle and now it's lying forlornly on the bed in my spare room. ... :confused:
You've got to start somewhere! Professional musicians practice many hours a day, every day. In the old days as a competent amateur I would practice half an hour to an hour several days a week. Coming back to the music I horrified (and laughed at) myself when my fingers refused to do the right thing at anything like the right time. I'm still only managing one hand at a time on the keyboard; and triple-tonguing on the windy thing? Ha!
As any musician will tell you, there are moments when all you want to do is smash up your own instrument in despair and chuck it on the fire. All you can do is get back to practising at your own level and slowly, painfully slowly, it comes - it makes learning to fly look quite easy really.
Here's a rendition of Twinkle Twinkle that'll make you really sick - explanatory text is [here].

 

Roger Mole

Cross Country Pilot
#14
:) Thanks for that Joan.. really enjoyable. I'm also a Classic FM fan which I can listen to over here either on my PC or on my TV system through FreeSat. I should feel rather ashamed really because someone I know in Australia on an internet forum who's a year or so older then me said that he also had a keyboard that he'd been self learning with to no avail so he took lessons. In the time that mine has been sitting unused on the bed in my spare room he became so proficient that he was performing at the teacher's learning group Christmas concert. Mind you, I don't think that he had distractions like starting a new life in a foreign country and aircraft in a hangar just crying out to be flown.
 

Roger Mole

Cross Country Pilot
#15
With plenty of gesticulation we understood each other well enough and our opinions on the way it was run seemed very similar. I'd not long had my license removed 'cos the Brits it seemed had too many and the Spanish had been awarded far bigger quotas than the Portugeuse. It was a pleasent interlude as I enjoyed the warmth and he worked on his gear.
Bet you wish you were sitting on that quayside now Ginge
 
#16
Roger asked about ham radio and Morse. You don't have to learn Morse anymore to get your licence, but lots of people still do for fun. I was licenced in 1981 and had to go to Mablethorpe in Lincs to the GPO maritime radio station"Humber Radio". That was like going back to the 1930s - a glimpse of a fast disappearing world (ship to shore comms was still largely on HF radio, but satellite phones were just coming in).
I still use Morse lots. It's very effective and once you can do it, it's like another language. It takes a long time to learn. Interestingly people who are musical (not me!) are good at it - I think because you are listening for the sound of whole letters and common words, not counting individual dots and dashes, so having a good 'ear' helps.
The chap who taught me Morse, Wilf Dunnell, had been a shore based radio operator in the war. When Douglas Bader was captured and the Germans radioed to ask for a replacement pair of his artificial legs to be dropped in, it was Wilf who received the message. He got into trouble for communicating with the enemy in wartime! A lovely man, RIP.
 

Roger Mole

Cross Country Pilot
#17
Fascinating stuff Martin, thanks for that. This is one of the things I love about this forum - it's not all about microlights is it. There are some great stories to be told.
 

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