Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Col de Tende FAI World Cup & Eurotour



Back from the Col de Tende FAI with 2 new trophies, world cup and eurotour. First of all, a huge thank you to the organisers Allan and Paul Eytan, the CD, the base judges, the helpers. Without all these people the contest would not happen, so again "MERCI" ! Even if the weather was less cooperative this year, it is still a super competition in a atomishing landscape !

37 pilots coming from 9 different countries (Germany, Norway, Czech republic, Switzerland, Netherland, Spain, Poland, Austria, France), what a nice contest !

On friday, it was cold with the breeze coming from the north. After a quick welcome and registration, we moved to the north slope and, after a breafing, observed a minute of silence for the victims of the horrible terrorist attack in Nice during the bastille day.
Then the contest started in this north slope, close to the fortress and we managed 5 rounds in good but not strong conditions. The slope is particular, not straight, and without real edge, so the flying technic must be adapted, with a difficult anticipation, especially on the left turn. We finished around 6pm so could get some sport flying after.

On Saturday, the wind was supposed to turn to the south, so the organiser prepared the course on the nice south slope, before the north breeze starts to blow again. Instead to return to the fortress, we decided to install the bases on the back of the south slope, and honetly, it was a good surprise, the slope is more convenient and work the same than the other north slope. We did 3 rounds before the wind drops at the end of the afternoon.

It was a black saturday for me as after my run of round 7, while walking to the landing area, I totally lost the radio link on my neon orange Shinto which started to circle, out of control and crashed on a car. Hopefully nobody was injured, this is the essential. The car has light damages, the plane is heavily damaged, but this is secondary. I will post more on this later.

Sunday started badly to, when Tobias Reik, on behalf Thorsten Folkers, put a protest to ask the organiser to count my round 7 flight at 0 because the plane crashed outside the landing zone. Considering that the landing zone was indicative, not marked on the ground by a line and not checked by a dedicated judge, the protest was hard from my point of view, but ultimately was true, so the jury put me a zero score, too bad ! Curiously the same day, Siegfried Schedel didn't get a zero when loosing his plane from sight and crashing it down the valley far from the landing zone indicated. Selective rules you said ...? Anyway, This is really not a great sportmanship from the guys behind this protest as I was already hitted hard by the lost of an expensive model that was in addition my A-model. But ... lesson is learned !

At the end, the protest was ineffective as I had still a little margin, but no more joker, so no more right to make a mistake. Finally, this protest had the opposite effect on me, reinforced my determination and fight spirit and I managed to take more advance in the 2 rounds we have flown on Sunday ... sorry guys !

The conditions on Sunday were extremely variable with variations between 42s and 73s in few minutes, average being above 50s. We were expecting the wind to grow, but it didn't happen before the end of the comp. After 10 rounds, the constest ended and Espen Torp finished Third with consistent flying during all the contest with his Jedi, behind Thorsten Folkers flying a FS5. I ended the contest in first position flying the Jedi the 4 first rounds, then the Shinto the 3 last rounds before the crash it and finally the Stribog the 3 last rounds. The Stribog desmontrated that it was very competitive against the references on the market. Armin Hortzitz finishes 4th. Matthieu Mervelet did a good climb in the ranking to finish 5th. In the team ranking, the french team named "Kousoku Shinkou" (Matthieu Mervelet, Julien Honor, Pierre Rondel) finishes first in front of the German team "Schwaben" (Thorsten Folkers, Siegfried Schedel, Tobias Reik) and another french team "Al Lanes team" (Philippe Lanes, Sébastien Lanes, Allan Cohen). Best speed of the contest goes to Thorsten Folkers with a 37.61s

To put some pictures on this short report, please find my photo album below:


Pictures from Thomas Winkler are here.

Full results on F3X vault.

See you next year at Col de Tende !

Saturday, June 25, 2016

HV6130 and HV6130H: A concentrate of power and technology in a small package !


MKS is releasing 2 new servos for the glider enthusiasts we are, the HV6130 and HV6130H (upright mounting tab for fuselage use) ! They use the same form factor than the DS6100 / HV6100 / HV6110 but use all metal case, and feature an upside-down high quality HV coreless motor installing, to reduce space. This servos will therefore easily fit in the smallest wing servo bay, used with RDS or LDS, or fuselage, and provide an incredible torque between 6kg under 6V to 8.1kg under 8.2V !!!

They are positionned between the 6125 and 6625 family, but are smaller than both. You will find the spec drawing below. They integrate 2 new interresting features with in addition to 3 ball bearings, 2 additional jewel bearings to strengthen the structure, and a Built-in Safe
System, which works as a protection against voltage draw when servo overloading and allow to land the plane safely.

Please note that the HV6130 will be available within 1 or 2 months, and HV6130H will come a bit later.












HV6130

  • Torque: 6.0 kg-cm(6.0V) / 7.6 kg-cm(7.4V) / 8.1 kg-cm (8.2V)
  • Speed: 0.14 s (6.0V) / 0.11 s (7.4V) / 0.10 s (8.2V)
  • Weight: 22.5 g
  • Dimension:30 x 10 x 29.8 mm 
  • Working Voltage:3.5~8.4 V DC Volt
  • Working frequency:1520μs / 333Hz
  • Current draw: 1.2A @ 6.0V 1.4A @ 7.4V 1.6A @ 8.2V
  • Dead Band:0.001 ms (Default)
  • Bearing : 3* ball bearing + 2*Jewel bearing
  • Motor:Coreless Motor
  • Gear:Metal alloy gear

HV6130H

  • Torque: 6.0 kg-cm (6.0V) / 7.6 kg-cm(7.4V) / 8.1 kg-cm (8.2V)
  • Speed: 0.14 s (6.0V) / 0.11 s (7.4V) / 0.10 s (8.2V)
  • Weight: 23 g
  • Dimension:30 x 10 x 29.8 mm 
  • Working Voltage:3.5~8.4 V DC Volt
  • Working frequency:1520μs / 333Hz
  • Current draw: 1.2A @ 6.0V 1.4A @ 7.4V 1.6A @ 8.2V
  • Dead Band:0.001 ms (Default)
  • Bearing : 3* ball bearing + 2*Jewel bearing
  • Motor:Coreless Motor
  • Gear:Metal alloy gear

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Stribog F3F from RTGModel


RTGModel (Milan Demčišák) recently released his brand new flagship the STRIBOG. This is the successor of the Rotmilan Midi and the latest F3F glider of a family that started with the Extreme, then the Rotmilan follow by a smaller version with the Rotmilan Midi and it features some nice evolutions that I will detail.

Stribog (Stribozh, Strzybóg, Стрибог) is the god and spirit of the winds, sky and air; he is said to be the ancestor (grandfather) of the winds of the eight directions. The Stribog has a 2.86 m wingspan which is ideally suited for F3F and slope soaring. Wing section is a HN airfoil (Norbert Habe) and different from the Rotmilan from I heard but I don't have much details on this one. The tail section is thinner.

The fuselage uses the same convenient layout than previously and features a canopy, a moulded servo tray, a fuselage ballast tube. The front of the fuselage till the end of the elevator servos is fiberglass and kevlar, then we can see the carbon fabric from this point.

The wing bring some new things like the double carbon layup, or the smaller flap chord at the root.  The servos location is very different. Both flap and aileron servos are now very close to each other at the middle of the wing with a single servo cover. Mine arrived already with the servo frames installed for MKS HBL6625. They are using nice LDS with counter bearing for a slop free control. This will reduce the assembly time, good point.

  • Left Wing (with servo frames in place): 619gr
  • Right Wing (with servo frames in place): 614gr
  • Fuselage with Canopy: 371 gr
  • Left Tail including joiner: 41gr
  • Right Tail including joiner: 41gr
  • Joiner: 84gr
  • TOTAL: 1770gr
  • Ballast: 895 gr

Moulding quality is as usual with Milan Demčišák awesome, with perfect fit of all elements together, very thin join lines, nice paint, etc ... A very nice plane and kit. I will start the assembly soon and post photos of it, as usual. Stay tuned !




Monday, May 23, 2016

Flying the Weasel TREK !


The maiden flight happened on a south slope by a sunny weather, but when I arrived at the top, the wind was more from west, and very weak. I moved to the west side of the slope where the slope angle is almost flat. Anyway, I could test the Weasel in pure thermal flight conditions and have been very positively suprised. From the first launch, she flew like a charm, no trim needed, recommended settings are perfect. Despite the light weight of 290gr, she has a better lift-to-drag ratio and penetrates better thanks to the combination of the light weight and lower camber of the airfoil, so I could fly very far, transition from one thermal to another very easily, cover lot of distance, like I was piloting a larger sailplane. During the afternoon, I did some very good gain of altitude starting from very low and finishing at 100 to 150m few minutes after. It is true that weasel is desmontrative and indicate clearly the lift which make the thermal hunting easier. In addition, the finger hole at the bottom of the skid provides a very good grip and allow to launch very strongly which help in small conditions. The lift-to-drag ratio is very noticeable with the ground effect when you land and can surprisingly cover a longer distance than expected.


In higher wind condition, the Weasel TREK shows her DNA and wilder temperament. Here again the low camber section provides a better speed range, in all situations. Nose and control surface weight reduction improve the pitch response, so give more manoeuvrability. Same on the roll axis with a crisper response. As you can guess from this, aerobatic capabilities are therefore very good, with much easier and effortless inverted flight, more axial rolls and step rolls, loopings , reversal. But also all these improvements make the Weasel TREK easier to fly VTRP (aerobatics close to the ground), helped with her compact size. In top of this, I found her to have a much better energy retention, in turn and also for vertical manoeuvers, despite her light weight. This is a very good characteristic, which is not easy to obtain ! She carries the 50gr ballast easily but could carry much more weight when the wind is above 10+ m/s.

Finally this new Weasel TREK is a "boosted" and "over vitamined" Weasel version with a wider flying envelop from low conditions to medium breeze, more agile, faster, more aerobatic and provide the same amount of fun and adrenalin whatever the lift ! The Weasel remains definitively one of my favorite slope glider !

and a video filmed the same day:


Friday, May 20, 2016

Weasel TREK: Light speed assembly !



In fact we cannot really talk about assembly as it takes 25 minutes to have it ready, no glue is needed. This is faster than some RTF kit.

The work consists mainly in


  • installing the 2 servos in their location, servo arm at the neutral position. I use some UHU glue to secure, but this is not necessary, there are 2 transparent tape pieces to cover and maintain in place the servos.
  • route the servo wires to the radio compartiment
  • tape the velcro on the nose and on the battery to secure it
  • install the plastic clevises on the control rods.
  • install the 2 screws on the joiner lock system (same as the Alula TREK)
  • No lead needed in the nose for the CG balancing, I even had to move back the battery by 5mm.

If you want some colors, acrylic paint in spray will do it easily. I used some masking paper tape. This is clearly longer than the assembly itself, but she deserves it !

On the balance, she weights 290grs vs the 330grs of the Weasel Black Edition. Additional ballast is about 50gr, perfectly centered on the recommended CoG.



Monday, May 2, 2016

Weasel TREK: Kit Overview

I just received one of the very first kit of the Weasel TREK. She arrived in a very nice orange box, that will be much more convenient to carry it.
This new weasel seems very similar in term of planform, but probably has different airfoils. The visible differences are:


  • Elevons are moulded, not balsa. they seems stiff enough when I manipulate them.
  • Like the Alula TREK, she has a canopy giving a full access to the radio compartiment and a plastic landing skid to protect the underside of the nose. the canopy is maintained in place by several magnets.
  • The spar is no more integrated during the moulding, but added/glued after.
  • The locking system is the same than the Alula TREK, and the joiner too.
  • The skid integrate a ballast compartiment able to receive 50g of lead. It also keep the finger recess for better launching
  • The fin is secured with a magnet.



In term of construction, spars, control horns, magnets, skid are all in place, which means a speedy assembly, around 30 minutes like the Alula TREK. The longer will be once again to decide about the color scheme and the painting :) ! I have few hours to think about it before to start the assembly.

Quality of the moulding and fit is as good as the Alula TREK, with a nice surface finish.

As option I received also the 750mAh NiMh battery and the 2 metal gears servos (12gr class servos), and the lead extension between the receiver and the battery.

The weight of the frame + radio equipment is 280grs, compared to the 360grs of my Weasel EVO (made from EPP). Light flying weight means better capabilities in light conditions, and better agility. I anticipate the Weasel TREK to be a nice aerobat, VTPR capable.

Specifications:
  • Wingspan: 900 mm (35.4 in)
  • Wing Area: 23.42 dm2 (363 in2)
  • Weight: 312-395 gm (11.5-14 oz)
  • Wing Loading: 13.3-16.9 gm/dm2 (4.6-5.6 oz/ft2)
  • Controls : 2 Channels (elevons)
  • Assembly: Under an hour (I would say 30 minutes)
  • Flight Style: Slope thruster
  • Wind Speed: 3-12 m/s (7-25 mph)
I'm very exited to test this new Weasel TREK as I really loved the previous versions. I had one Weasel EVO EPP in 2009, and I still have my Weasel Black Edition, so it will be an opportunity to test them side by side. Stay tuned for the assembly and the maiden that should happen this week-end !

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Flying session at Puy de Manse

Very nice but freezing flying session with friends near Gap last week-end. 15 to 20m/s of wind, with some gust at 25 m/s, and around 2°, but negative values with the wind. 1.5kg of Ballast in the Shinto, and some ligthning fast runs when the thermal was popping up. Landing was ok.

We got the snow on the way back to Grenoble near La Mure.

It is funny to see that camera cannot capture excatly the fluo orange color, making it darker and less flashy that it is in real. Something wrong with the camera sensor ?


Below is a short video showing the Shinto in a very fast run :


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Electric Sailplane Clinic 3 video review


This second educational video from Radio Carbon Art "Electric Sailplane Clinic 3" is dedicated to ALES/F5J and is a good prolongation of the F3X Building Clinic video I covered few weeks ago. This time, Paul Naton focuses on everything specific to this rapidly growing category that becomes, as it is based on simple rules and is, from my point of view, less elitist thant F3J. The video doesn't come back on wing servo installation for example as it is considered as "learned" thanks to the first video.

The video introduction is few secondes of nice action footages, with some onboard sequences. The plane presented/used in the whole video is an Explorer 3.8m from Nan Model. Then Paul covers a certain numbers of topics:
  • choice of suitable motors presentation, considered as references, evenf if today, the choice on the market is now plethoric, and fortunately for all kind of budget. Same for the ESC to associate with the motor. 
  • Few words on Lipo battery Backup Guard, if you are using a BEC and in case of BEC failure, so the 5V output will allow your flight system to land safely with total confidence, and avoid the low voltage and failsafe on the receiver. 
  • Then Paul speaks a bit about propellers, then presents some adequat servos to be installed in the fuselage, the receiver (and satellite) 
Before to start the installation, Paul determines the adequate layout to obtain the correct CG and avoid any post assembly balance lead,  and for this, go through a very detailed flying weight estimation. Then he presents the "Aluminium firewall", a robust and light aluminium motor mount and how to install it. The power setup installation (motor and ESC) follows, then the spinner with some hit and tips to obtain an efficient propeller retract along the fuselage, the same I used on my Electro Pike :)

Then comes the fuselage radio installation under the wings. The part will differ from one plane to another depending if a special compartiment exists or not. The present example is with a simple carbon plate servo tray.  The assembly being finished, the weight checking allows to compare with the initial estimation.

The second part of the video focuses on ESC programmation, how to choose the Lipo batterie (Curve, Reserve, Safe capacity) , voltage or HV / internal resistance / C discharge.
Then Paul presents an interesting tool called "Lipo ESR meter" to measure internal resitance and true C discharge, a good investment for people taking ALES and F5J very seriously.


After few words about charging technics and modern chargers, Paul explains how to track/monitor battery perfomances easily.  The following sequence is about Alti V4+ for ALES and F5J, Alti Micro, and CAM height limiter. Next is the presentation and use of ECalc for performance simulation based on the plane motor, etc ...

Before to go flying, Paul is doing a preflight checking, static test and result comparison. The last minutes of the video are again some flying nice action at the field, with an onboard camera with some close fly by or agressive short climbing to desmontrate what is achievable with a good power solution.

Like the first video, this second educational video is at the same level of quality, which means very professional, with very clear explanations, plenty of advises or recommendations. This is the perfect video for the modeller who has some basics in E-gliders but wants to start with a serious electro glider setup or even start ALES/F5J competition.  Electro Gliders require even more rigor and attention in their assembly and settings, because of the motor and associated power. If you do it right from the beginning thanks to this video, then you will be rewarded with many trouble free flights and will enjoy your plane !

More information on Radio Carbon Art website where you will find a wide choice of educational video covering almost all aspect of RC soaring, available in DVD or for download.

You can find a trailer of this video here "Electric Sailplane Clinic 3" Preview Trailer:



Friday, April 15, 2016

The Dream Flight Weasel TREK is landing soon !

The release is now iminent and the Weasel TREK should reach your prefered RC shop in the coming weeks (second week of May). My Weasel Black Edition will have some company soon !

Dream Flight released tonight the flyer that give some indications: Ailerons are moulded, not balsa, the canopy give an easy access to the radio components, it is possible to ballast. And the battery is NiMh 800mAh so plenty of flying time.





And better than a doc, a short video that says everything ! tons of fun in perspective !



[Video] Brive / Pinsac F3F league contest

Nice video clip from Thomas Delarbre done with a smartphone about the Brive / Pinsac F3F league contest.