See also Park Hall Helicopter Club, based near Ilkeston, Derbyshire.
Chalk v Cheese: Micro Mold Lark Mk I (1977) v Thunder Tiger Raptor 30 v2.0 (2003)
My first heli, a Micro Mold Lark I picked up very cheaply second hand and managed to buy some of the last of the spares held by the new company Chart in the early 90's. I never flew it but it kept my interest in helicopters alive (in the back of my mind at least) and it did have a few short hops before I decided a more modern machine was going to be a bit easier to fly...and it seemed a shame to break the Lark as it's now a classic!
So although flyable now with the larger ratio drive gear adapted to the Lark MkII clutch housing, I don't intend to at least until I am reasonably proficient with more modern equipment! Then one day she might get another airing!
Here's a picture of her before some of her short hops in 2003. The engine is an OS20 and the gearing too low to get off the ground very far! Also, without the heatsink (i have it somewhere!) it does run pretty hot! The floats are original equipment and the skids are there too, they have never been fitted.
Here's a detail shot showing the original Lark decals and the rough linkages (no i didn't build it!).
And the mechanics, note the v-belt groove on the flywheel for engine starting, alas the v-belt is not with it! I used an old vacuum cleaner belt!
Micro Mold also made a Wallis Auto Gyro that was reviewed in 1982 by RCM&E magazine. this shared many mechanical components with the Lark such as the main crown wheel, drive spindle and bearings.
There were issues with the main gear taking the flight load i.e bearing the weight of the gyro suspended from the spinning rotor head. This causes gear wear but if the collet is moved up to close the gap, it rubs on the bearing housing causing greater frictional forces acting against the freely rotating head in flight.
Other Lark owners or pics.
The Raptor 30 v2 is from another era and it is evident! Even though i am a complete novice at flying heli's this seems far more stable! The quality of the engineering is spot on, there is no slack in the control system at all! The control links are all short (apart from the tail) and ball raced. A far cry from 70's machine, the Lark has bronze bushings in plastic carriers for the driven shafts and nylon-nylon mouldings for linkage pivots.
They ironed out the bugs found in the v1 and the model seems to have only one bug affecting it's overall performance....my flying ineptitiude!
Hover practice (tank 7) with the training undercarriage....still plenty more of this to do! New flying site required though as this is far too uneven. These blades were 'life expired' after this days flights. As was the flybar and the feathering shaft....oops. Parts for Raptors are cheap however compared to other similar sized/priced models such as the Hirobo Sceadu Revo(nice heli though).
10/08/04 Now on Tank 24, and head is freeing up nicely. After Tank 7 the rebuilt head got a full bearing kit to replace all of the bushings. Hovering is getting a lot better with 5 minute hovers accomplished. Not always steady but i manage to keep it roughly where it should be! Been making the most of windless evenings!
Full size Links: Irish Heli Gallery