Friday, 30 December 2011

Willow Takes Bob sub 40

Congratulations to Willow Pilot Bob R, On only it's second outing and Bob's 4th race he clocked a 38 second run.  Delivering excellent performance easily was always one of the aims of the Willow's design and I think we've got it!

Must be my turn for a sub 40 next.

here's the video

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas coming early

Ever since the Willow has been flying I seem to have stumbled on some alternative stunning F3F models.  The Air One from my good friend Majo has been a long time coming but wow has it been worth it.  With the looks of an Extreme with a very fast looking section I've just finished kitting my Air one out with KST servos from Hyper flight (no I can't tell the difference between them and MKS.

  Pictures to  follow but an Airone and Willow will be taken out for a few days flying between now and 2012.

  Have a great Christmas and see you in 2012!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Winter Willow fun

  It’s not often that spending 6 hours in the freezing cold is a happy prospect but for some reason put an F3F model in my hand and all seems right.    Just a day after it’s maiden flight my reduced dihedral Willow was carried up the Ice Cream slope for the Welsh Winter league bash.
  The wind was crossed and freezing cold but the chance to join 2 other Willow owners, Bob and Mike on the flight line wasn’t to be missed.  True to form each one of us had a different set up and ballast choice but ultimately it was thumbs and luck with the air that separated us.  When the wind came square on to the hill (as it did for a few legs on 2 of my flights) the Willow was a high speed joy to fly.  When the Wind was crossed she faired about as well as any other model but the Willow's stability made it easier to do so.

  One race isn’t enough to illustrate the Willow’s performance or the new Joiner but I am convinced that she’s competitive.  There were certainly times, as I landed on rough icy ground, in blustery conditions that I was pleased to be flying such a forgiving model with a high mounted tail.
 At the end of the day I was beaten by better pilots and congratulations to martin and his Freestyler on his performance all day to win.  But as always my Willow had me smiling all day and all the way home.  Thanks, as always have to go to AJ and the SWSA for putting on the race and being daft enough to join us on the hill side.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

The new joiner is child's play

A couple of shots of my new Willow.  After leaving my laast WIllow With John Philips I took the chance to make one- my old scheme and here with the new joiner.

Now I just need a pass from her in doors to get me out of the cliffs with it. 
Co-pilot is keen to get out as well!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Stroke a Willow in Liecester!

  I've just spoken to Tony of SlopeRacer, he tells me his car will be full of servo mounts but also Willows at this weekend's BARCS meeting.

  Sounds like a good chance to get a good look and get a few quid off (he'll love me for that)

  I'll be maidening the new one (screaming family permitting), lovely red paint scheme and new wing joiner- Pics to follow.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

A choice of joiners

The Willow now has a choice of joiners- the original 6degree dihedral or the new 3 degrees.

Both remain the substantial lumps of carbon they've always been.

  Which is better?- like most things it's a personal taiste thing but I like the way the new one looks in the Willow I'm building (yep not in time for the first southern league race).

The new joiners are just  £22.50 if you'd like to try one in your Willow.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Further developements

  I’ve been impressed with how the Willows fly from the first model.  The Beta model developement has allowed us to make some really big improvements to make today’s models..  We are using more and more CnC parts- including the new wing joiner mold and there is no chance of cutting any corners on materials.

  After having my last Willow prized from me on the slope I’m building another Willow.  You’re expecting me to say this but in addition to the construction quality and strength, the Willow is now a doddle to put together-even for someone with my lack of workshop heating.
  The parts now slip together with a positive feeling click, I really love the way the servo tray slots in place once you’ve cut it to fit your radio gear.  Fitting the switch before you glue the tray in makes it the easiest switch I have fitted in a long time, even with the longer ballast tube there’s plenty of room for all the radio gear! I opted for the 5065s to drive the V tail but there’s room for bigger servos.  
  I’m fitting this one with standard Hi-tec gear again.  The 12mm 5085 servos fit in both the flaps and ailerons really easily.  As we’ve got the horns fitted and hole for the wiring looms built in now there’s not much more than fitting the servos and making the push rods to do.
  With luck this Willow will be ready for the Sunday’s Race.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

new toys arrived today

Heading out of the door, so my stroking was limited but the new air one 3m is now finished. it might have taken 2 years from prototype and to production but it's definately worth it.

Pics and a build to come

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

2 possitive moves

Working with Tony at Sloperacer and actally flying Willows, means that we have lengthened the Ballast tubes in all Willows.

With Tony's help we have also found a way for the Willow to make a possitive difference.

The Bristol Neonatal intensive Care Unit is a cause very close to me.  The Willow started as a project and has grown beyond anything that we could expect.  With the help of Tony at Sloperacer half of the proceeds to Willow f3f will be given to the Neonatal care Unit.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

A little bit of fun with a wing

Now we've all heard the stories about how strong wings are- right?

So here's the plan, wait till the missus goes out then get your son to sit on a spare wing and see what happens.....

Not much flex at all.

So how about giving your camera to the boy and sitting on the wing yourself?

So a 17stone prop hands his camera over (feeling more nervous about the camera than the wing) and.....

yeah, the wing bent more this time! but not bad going and not a bad pic with a 4 year old on the camera!

I recon we'll be ready for thhe bigger ballast tubes and winter winds!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Full colours at Sloperacer

Here's the colours that Tony at Sloperacer now has the Willows in- After un-packing them it's clear that they're getting better and better- but also brighter and brighter.

  We've still not had a bad report on how they fly.  We think that with the right servo combination you can be racing a 2.75m full house moldie for less than the price of just about any other model in it's class.  I couldn't resist so I'm making up my new wiring loom tonight for my new toy!- go on guess which one:-)

Monday, 19 September 2011

Day 3 and Welsh open Reflections

   Sitting in my car for the whole of Sunday morning I must admit I was torn between wanting the rain to clear, so we could get on with more racing and really wanting to have round 5 cancelled- the hill and wind simply stopped co-operating for a number of pilots on Saturday and I knew my score would take a bashing.
  But as soon as the rain did ease off I was second up the hill to thrash the Willow about before we managed to get round 5 and 6 in.  The ice-cream slope is one of the more variable ones but this gave different pilots the opportunity to use different styles of flying to get the most out of it.
  Sunday really did emphasise just how much the standard of flying has improved and developed in the last few years (perhaps I missed it before), gone have the days where UK pilots would launch, float around for 25 seconds and then attempt 9 reversals- pretty well regardless of the conditions.  Full or Partial reversals, energy management, Nordic or good old bank and yank turns were all employed by just about all the top pilots at different times and to a very high level.
  43’s were transformed into 39’s and 39’s into 35 second runs by a succession of pilots.  Those fresh faced Norwegians have certainly been practising and as always it was great to see so many of them, as with the Spanish.  The Worlds next year will certainly be a top class affair and With Joel West’s stunning win it gives us Brits some hope.
  2 models that were new to UK racing may well demonstrate the importance of thumbs, Kevin and the Pike perfect looks- Like Kevin flying most of his models, fast, accurate and hard turning.  Only he can tell you how easy it is to get that performance from it and how to release the water that gathers inside the fuselage.  The Artist 3, had the handicap of my thumbs all weekend but for me it was one of the most impressive models at the weekend, it’s pace and handling even made me look competentJ
  I’ll put some pictures up when my camera drys but, thanks to Kevin, Martin and AJ- What a weekend!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

day 2

Just back from a long day flying the bomb hole westerly slope.  Excellent winds for most of the day.  It did swing from square on to 20 degrees either side.  After finishing off round 2 from yesterday- i think frank won the second group with a 37.XX.

  Between rain, sleet, hail and gales we finally gave up on round 5 with 10 pilots to go.  Its clear that steady 41/42 times just won't cut it.  Regular sub 40s are needed to top 10 and those cunning Nordic flyers have been practising.  Stefaan B. finally broke his 40 second duck and now just won't go over 40 seconds.

  I've been ripping it up with the artist, (as I've sold the willow with a 'in one piece' promise)  she's perfomed extremely well all race.

can't wait for the scores and a pint


Friday, 16 September 2011

welsh open day 1

just time for as quick report.  After a morning of clag on the back of tyhe wrecker the proactive decission to move to Mickies as made and after a short time we had good winds and the round starting.  a flurry of 40'Swere posted (lets brush over my firsty flight)  Adam richardson's 34 second run with the vampire stands out.

  round 2 and i had the artist 3 settled down to delivver a 41second run- good for my thumbs and the artists natural pace was showing.  after 38 pilots the rain came back and round 2 was declared to be group scored.  Sorry I was sheltering so i don't know where or if my score counts.

  Spare a thought for Scot ravenscroft, with pilots on a waiting list to race here, team barbarian is down to team BAR...... 

more tomorrow

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Servos, spares and don’t forget your toothbrush!

  My annual trip to the Welsh Open is nearly here.  A chance for curry and to catch up with old friends should never be turned down.   I’ll be putting a few spare Airtronics servos in the car but if anyone would like me to bring you some carbon sock, a few control snakes or stainless steel inners to help you patch up your winter project just let me know.
  The Artist 3 and Willow will be vying for space on the flight line. 

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Artist vs Willow

A week from my 3 day pass to the Welsh Open and I've finished my Willow.  I can't think of any other model that I would even considder racing in a Eurotour event 5 days from completion but the Willow gives me that option.

  With a good 30mph+ on Wiz Cliff it was time to play with the Artist and Willow in similar and fun air!  Do you ever just pause and think how lucky we are? Carrying the Willow and Artist to the edge I certainly did!

  With 800g of lead and land outs just not an option the Willow was away and, it was just stunning.  Energy retention, handling and speed- yes that's the one!  But lets fly the Artist anyway....

  Crisp, smooth fast and so much fun the Artist was cutting through the air- that has to be thr one right?

  After an evening of swapping between the 2 I just can't separate them.  (in carry-on style) it's like trying to decide between your wife and Girlfriend.

  They'll both be coming to Wales with me!

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Artist Electric

That JK has done it again- tempting me from my Willow!

Here's a shot of the Electric Artist 3.  Colour schemes on the Artist 3 page

Monday, 29 August 2011

Willows are here!

Yep, after more time than I want to remember a box of production Willows met my return from holiday.

Has the wing been smoothed out?  yep

is it stonger?  yep

stiffer?  yep

got one left after I told Tony at Slope Racer? Nope!  they're all heading to Tony.  It's been great to work with a distributor that understand model developement and I can trust so all the Willows will be with Tony as soon as they land.

I'm away to build the Beta I have left for the Welsh open.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

artists have landed!

I've just heard from tony fu, he's been stroking his first batch of artist 3s all morning.

The perfectionist tony gets to agree with me now- beautiful, top quality winners

Drop him a line now

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Willows on the march

  After taking on Lundy the claim for the Willow altitude record has been claimed by Andy at 8,000ft.  Partly down to launching from the top of the Swiss alps, between drinks at Stefan Bertschi’s stag weekend.  Just goes to show you can’t put a good model down (especially when you’ve got a sports tube to fit it in).  Congratulation and good luck to Stefan.
  The Sanwa Servos are now here and the Willows on their way!  I’ll have mine flying for the Welsh open.  Tony Fu will have them in stock at the same time, although some technical issues are stopping him up-dating the web-site I understand.

  I’ve had to make do with a day at the beach and an evening with the Artist (only the camera phone with me) whilst I wait for Parcelforce.- It's a tough life.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

A busy time and still flying!

      The chance of meeting the Dark Lord Dakin himself on the hill and seeing him do his stuff was not to be missed and he had Partland Ducking out of the way of his Caldera in no time. Portland seems to have been my main flying destination lately and on Sunday it was my cross tail Compact’s turn to go out to play.  I always forget how much I enjoy this model- stunning tracking and tank tough to give your confidence a boost.
  A quick look to my mail and it looks like Tony Fu’s first batch of Artist 3 models are winging there way over to him right now.

  In preparation to what should be the first commercial Willows being sent next week I’ve got a box of  Sanwa/Airtronics 94761 servos heading this way.  Defiantly my favourite wing servo and great for other models than the Willow- drop me a line if you’re building right now

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

2 days in Dorset

  The chance of a 2 day pass to fly and meet up with modelling royalty (Slopetrash himself) is not to be turned down.  Starting at Portland, 3 hours were spent With ‘BobbyR’ in some very light winds and blistering sunshine, initially convincing him that hurling a big mouldie off a cliff in <5mph winds was a good idea and then enjoying that feeling that- yep it was flying (just).  Our time was only broken by Bobby’s missus wondering why his 5 mins had now taken nearly 3 hours- it was one of those days.
  With the sunshine still beating down I fancied some inland soaring to set the Artist up some more.  I’ve moved the CG back to 107mm now (JK’s recommendation in the first place) and true to form she’s a little more crisp, goes where you point her and with just a smidge of diff if performing some stunning racing turns without any sign of being up-set or biting back.  One thing I love about the Artist is the way that she responds to camber- centre on a thermal in this mode and she really is away, but unlike some models she does not stooge around sinking steadily with camber when you’re not in a thermal.
  It was soon time to meet the family Slopetrash for the night before Maiden Castle was chosen for the next day’s flying.  The site is an interesting one, with 3 layers of earth mouth fortifications, each one topped by a narrow path.  We opted for the middle layer and much to Andy’s joy set off on the slog up the hill as the clouds began to break.
  Hills like this are always fun, with a steady flow of thermals adding to the slope lift, it didn’t take too long for Andy to regret sharing a radio!  After joining Daniel in the air for a while it was time to broach the landing- crow along the path and land on the top- or in my case bounce a bit to demonstrate the Willow’s strength as well as thermalling ability.
  As the winds died we opted for the land the planes at the bottom option, with Daniel switching off and our bags much lighter on the way down.  With all my toys flown it’s back to reality with that smile you get from a great trip.

more Summer pics

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

holiday maidens

  After confirming now that a taking your child to a slope doesn't invalidate your insurance a family holiday seemed the perfect time to maiden the new Artist 3 and get some brownie points.

  So in light thermic air and my new multiplex tx my 2.4gig cherry was gone and the artist 3 was away.

Yes, she's got great natural pace

Yes, she's crip and responsive

Yes, You can easily spec her out and eat up a vertical dive the pull full up- she bounces off the turns

Yes, good new models seem to come in groups

And yes women do seem to have made child care out to be tougher than it seems!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Turn your back for a week to have your nationals and just see....

  Should I be saying this on the Willow blog?

  Whilst I was showing the slower side of the Willow this weekend it looks as if those pesky chaps were putting the Pike precission through it's paces in Slovakia.

  It would be cruel to suggest that UK races could have been planed before February to give UK pilots a chance to race at the Donovaly race this year and see the Pike P.

  Not much room to get your elbows in this one!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Nationals weekend

A great weekend, I got to learn a lot about the Willow- she can really take ballast so well.  It was clear even with my thumbs that the Willow is a competitive model- my thumbs just can't keep up with the likes of Dakin, knewt and Joel.

  It was great to see Adam put his through its paces and learn not to skimp too much on elevator servos!

  you just can't argue will the willow grin tho can you!

more racing pics

Saturday, 25 June 2011

How its done properly

No racing on day 1 of the nats (please tell the missus) but it did give me a chance to see adam thrash his willow on the cliffs of southern downs.

Safe to say he self launched and the willow was soon doing its stuff. but might be a little biased!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

By George I think we've cracked it!

Far too little sleep lately to be able to take pictures (yet) but I received a box of carbon skinned Willows this week.  One blue design and 2 of the reds.

A few more wrinkles taken out and an improved resin gone in all adds up to the biggest step up in production since we started- and that’s saying a lot!  These should be the last batch of ‘Beta’ models if your interested in a bargin Willow then get in touch

  I’m really excited about these models, although I won’t be able to get one together before the Nationals this weekend I’ll try to find room to put one in the car to show it the hill.

Friday, 17 June 2011


  I shouldn’t be telling you this (This is the Willow site after all).  After a very welcome mail from the amazing JK a few weeks ago I’ve managed to sneak my new Artist 3 into the workshop.  Pics to follow when ‘She’ goes shopping for a new broomstick but after a good look at the Artist it’s stunning!
  Wing panels- light stiff and completely ready to just add a wiring loom and glue in your servos.  The surface finish is completely top draw and the deepest purple.
  Fuz- keeps the strips of ballast approach and the unique tail pins, secured from the side of the fuselage -you can look at the T9 ‘unique’ Martinet system for a pic J
  All the accessories are there so with my some Sanwa servos left i’ll be cracking on next to my carbon Willow (did I mention they’ll be landing next week).

Thursday, 9 June 2011

fame at last!

The willow made it to the RCM&E this month.  With 3 carbon Willow's heading over right now- feels good today!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Doing it right!

Before anyone gets to see my kit out of the original Willow, here's how Adam Richardson has built his own.

Come on, it looks good doesn't it!

  Withh three carbon versions being shipped in the next week the Willow is heading in the right direction to be available.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

A Local Day Out

  A week’s paternity leave and time to finally get the Willow on my favourite local cliff.  Just 25m high ‘Wiz cliff’ gives you no hiding places, get it right and you go fast, get it wrong and you slow down.  Without a good night’s sleep a 2 weeks I was never going to stretch the Willow’s capabilities.  Her manners would be tested but she didn’t let me down.

  High Nordic turns, bank and yank or playful half pipes you really can get away with almost anything as you put a smile on your face.  I didn’t put any ballast in the Willow today but the clean efficiency of the Willow gave an impressive return.  Was iis fun- I can't remember the last ime I left a Wizard compact in the box all day!

 Less said about the flying the better but thanks to Phil taylor- here's a the sound of Willow int he english summer  Here

 With the first Willow wings that include carbon Sock being pressed tonight I just can’t wait!
  Some more pics here

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

There Here!

  The Latest Willows arrived this week (I really must nick the missus’ kitchen scales!).  The quality and production has improved with each model and it started off good!  The strength and toughness of the wings looks to be there still but now the weight feels on the money with the wing pannels weighing 628g each.  We’re even testing the different colour schemes for you and two of these beauties are off for ‘field trials’ and more feedback so Keep an eye out for Willows near you.
  All going well the Willows will be available very soon with prices at around £500 for the standard lay-up.  With performance to match the best out there I’m really excited to have made this model available.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Team Willow

  Now I know what you’ve been thinking, “Just how well does the Willow go in stunning coastal lift?”  Well the excitement among Team Willow was palpable and so the 45mph winds of Start Point were braved with full support, the position of team Photographer was given to Ben.

  You won’t be surprised to hear that with knees knocking the Willow tracked out like a train and then just got faster.  It’s a good demonstration of a slippery design that energy is maintained in the vertical and half pipes just get bigger and bigger.  With 1kg of ballast on board it was time try and bend or break her in the air- but she wouldn’t break and that big old carbon spar just shrugged off the treatment.

  So what’s next?  Start Point is one long DS possibility but with the wind getting stronger and a definite lack of enthusiasm from Team Willow’s mum when I suggested a circuit around the backside that will have to wait.

  The Beta’s are on their way so watch this space!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Willow's Big day out

More wrecking pics!
Sunshine, good winds, great company and a Willow- what more could I ask for and so a day out at the Wrecker it was.  Sports flying and setting up models is very different from a race day but it did feel like we had perfect flying conditions today and after a few nights thinking and fetling I was ready to throw the Willow off.  Oh I’m glad I did!
  Although the winds were light in the sunshine, conditions moved from good to amazing and to these very very biased eyes the Willow felt like it accelerated, raced and maintained it’s energy with the best of them.  Being told it covered for the lack of talent in my thumbs must be a compliment for the model isn’t it?  The air allowed me to start adding ballast and like a trooper the Willow just lapped it up!
  The thing that really surprised my was just how well the Willow rolled and how much I could throw at here without up-setting her.  Fun and fast can’t be bad!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Beta Models nearly there

  Nothing's perfect first time and so with feedback from the first Willow the new and improved versions will be heading this way in a few days.  Testing new toys is a tough job but some one has to do it!

  It's getting to feel like Christmas again but you can't argue with that colour scheme!

Monday, 11 April 2011

a couple of pics of the Willow on the Wrecker

No new flying but a couple of pics from Saturday.

She Flys!

An early pass to the first BMFA race of the year gave me the chance to test out the Willow off the back of the Wrecker whilst the 60inch lads raced the crest.  With the potential channel clashes is made me glad I designed it fully 2.4 compatible (even though I was on 35meg).

   With setting a guess and CG an estimate there was only ever going to be 1 result to the first launch- like she was on railsJ  After driving down with a mixture of feelings from Christmas day to a final exam it was a fantastic relief to have her in the air and eating up the sky. 

  Now you’d expect me to say it but the she flew so well and so easily (best thing since sliced Elipse).  Without ballast she ticked all the boxes I could have asked for-

Flys straight,
Went up so nicely in lift,
agile handling to put a smile on your face,
 Pick up her skirt and go,
Landing as easy as you like.

  Over the next few weeks it will give me the chance to get the set up tweaked whilst the first full carbon ‘Beta’ versions are built. 

Thanks To Rhys for the picture- as I managed to leave my camera in the car in all the excitement.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Prototype ready

After longer than I want to remember the Willow F3F is ready to take to the Devon Skies.

I could be biassed but she looks good to me!