Monday, September 26, 2011

Icarus Cup: Another video

This video taken during the Icarus cup from a multicopter is showing some pylon racing with Merlin from Multiplex. I'm one of the 3 pilot whe are racing. This pylon races have been a great experience and lots of adrenalin to make the show for the numerous spectators present all this afternoon. I also had the opportunity to try and demonstrate the Dogfighter from MPX too. This 90cm wingspan bird is pretty nice and flies very very well !

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Video: Icarus Cup 2011

A short video taken from my Easyglider with the GoPro during the aerommodelling show at the Icarus cup. 3 friends are flying EPP P38s while I trying to film them.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Icarus Cup 2011

This is an annual festival of free flight held at Saint-Hilaire, Isère - Lumbin (Isère, France). The festival typically lasts four days and is held in the early autumn. Icarus cup is best known for its Masquerade Flight contest. Icarus Cup features aerial acrobatics, hang gliders, paragliders, hot air balloons, aeromodelling, and much more. Here are some pictures taken Saturday the 24th.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Video: Experience Gravity Zero

This is not about sailplanes, but this is so good that I wanted to share it with you.
The slow motion sequences are just stunning !!!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rotmilan settings

I have been able to fly the Rotmilan in medium to strong conditions. It demonstrated an excellent natural speed, good energy retention in turn. the Rotmilan accelerate very well during the first dive, while entering the course. It is forgiving during the course in the sense it can again accelerate in the middle of the course if you do a mmistake, or if the conditions grow.

I ballasted it to 700g (8 slugs over 10), which means that the ballast provided (900g) won't be enough in strong conditions, so there is a need to ballast in the joiner. Fortunately I have 2 tungsten ballast slugs remaining from a previous plane, so I will be able to add 500g more, so a total of 1400g, not that bad.

I moved the CG to 108mm, and thank to the fine tuning function of the T12FG, I played with the amount of snapflap.

I ended the day with the current settings:

(Note: + means "Down", - means "Up". Ailerons and flaps measured at the junction, elevator and rudder measured at the root)

CG:             108 mm
Elevator:     +/- 5mm
Rudder:       +/-10mm
              ailerons: -25/+15mm
              flap: -8/+5mm
              ailerons: +3mm
              flap: +5mm
                  ailerons: +3mm
                  flap: +3mm
                  ailerons: -1 mm
                  flaps: -1mm
                 flaps: +45 mm
                 ailerons: -18 mm
                 elevator compensation: +4 mm

Here is the last video I edited:

Friday, September 16, 2011

GyLL Concepts Mini SW, inter NG and NG dual

I finally found the time to "play" with the Gyll Concepts electronic switches: the Mini SW, the Inter NG and the Switch Dual. Electronic switches are devices that can stop or start an electric current as a result of the absence (or presence) of a control signal.

Why an electronic switch ?

The main reason is that they are contactless in the sense there is no mechanical switch involved so no mechanical point of failure between the power source and the device to power. Electronic switches are known to be reliable.

Gyll concepts electronic switches bring an innovative architecture where the control element, which can be an lever a slider or a magnetic switch is not on the critical path of the switch. This means that in case of failure it has no impact on the electronic switch itself. In other words this gives an even more reliable switch.

They are all passing 3A and between 10 to 15A in peak. Quality is very nice with all SMS components, nice blobs of solder. Switches arrive with a universal 3 pins connector (JR/Graupner) with 0,34mm2 Silicon wires (0,25mm2 PVC wires on the mini SW) on the receiver side. On the battery side, no connector is provided, letting the user to solder his preferred connectors.

By default GC switch comes with a jumper, the control element has to be purchased apart.

When the jumper is connected between the central pin and the pin with a brown mark the switch is OFF. When no jumper is present, the switch is ON. To avoid losing the jumper, you just connect it between the central pin and the one with the orange mark.

For the control element, depending of the application, you can choose between a lever, a slider, a magnetic switch (note: Mini SW doesn’t support the magnetic switch). Nothing prevent you to build your own control element, so why not imagine a switch using a jack (unplugged = ON, and plugged = OFF) for example.

The “Mini SW” with its small size and weight is suitable for small to medium planes, where the place is counted. There is no particular recommendation from the manufacturer excepted to let some space around the switch to ease the cooling of the device.
The Mini SW passes 3A, and works between 4 and 14 Volts, which cover the use of both NiMh/NiCd or LiPo batteries(2, 3 cells). However, I contacted the manufacturer to ask about the behaviour of the switch under 4V, thinking a use with only one LiPo cell: In fact 4V correspond to the 3A current passing, The switches can go down to 2.5V and will stop working from this value and under. From 4V to 2.5V, the switches will work perfectly, but with a downgraded max current. So using the miniSW in a HLG with only one LiPo Cell is possible without any problem.

Just remember that These switches are not voltage regulator, so don’t expect to drop the voltage by using them. Also never charge the battery through the switch, which would damage the switch as they are not design for that.

The switch NG is a little bit bigger, allows the use of the magnetic switch and offers a lower leakage current. The leakage current is the current taken from the battery when the switch is off. For this reason, when the model is not used for a long time it is greatly recommended to disconnect the electronic switch from the battery to not run to a flat battery.

The Switch NG dual add the support of 2 batteries and double connection to the receiver which give even more reliability. It also offer a plug for voltmeter for each battery.

Both the inter NG and the NG dual have a flashing LED to indicate the switch ON and OFF transitions, and also a low voltage alarm. When you switch ON, the LED flashes quickly during 5 seconds, then produce a flash every 7 seconds. When switching OFF, the LED flashes quickly again to indicate the status change.

The first video is about the Inter NG:

Switch specifications:

New MKS servo: DS-6100

Another great servo from MKS with this DS6100. It is an improved version of the DS450, well know by helicopter pilots. This DS6100 is more for us :)

DS6100 specs:

Dimensions: 22.5X10X23.5 mm (0.89x 0.39x 0.93 in)
Weight: 9.5 g (0.335 oz)
Dead band: 0.001ms (Default)
  • 3.19 kg-cm @4.8V
  • 3.32 kg-cm @5.0V
  • 0.12 sec @4.8V
  • 0.11 sec @5.0V

I had the chance to get a prototype few monthes ago, and I can tell you that this servos has muscles. I sent the DS6100 (production version) to the servormances team for testing and comparison.

The DS6100 can fit in F3X plane for the elevator of  a V-tail, allowing to save more space on the servo tray. 
It will be also suitable as wing servo in small sailplane up to 2 m. Excellent point, you can buy in option the RDS adapter.

I'll keep you informed as soon as I receive the test results.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Eauze 2011, the video

The Noisy-Skies team released their video about EAUZE, one of the biggest towing events in France.

More information, pictures can be found here

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pike Precision first flights

I maidened the Pike Precision few days ago. It was pretty cold with less than 10° at 1700m of altitude. We lost 20° in 24 hours !!! what a summer !

I started with a CG at 102 mm after havind received a mail from Benajamin Rodax, one of the co-designers. First flight was with 300g of ballast. Later in the afternoon, I double the ballast to go to 600gr.

The flight went very well. I felt confortable with the plane immdiately and engaged few runs right away, without gaining altitude. The plane is extremely grippy in turn, so snapflap will have to have the right setup, in conjonction with elevator. Here is my current settings. CG appeared to be good, so I haven't changed it yet.

  • CG at 102mm
  • -1 to 2mm for Speed +4mm Thermal mode
  • +/- 5mm on the elevator
  • + 10mm on the snap flap

This is not the definitive settings, as I need to continue to test the plane and find the best compromise between elevator and snapflaps.
In flight, the Pike Precision feels light on the sticks, even with some ballast. Roll rate is pretty good, I was able to do 2 rolls at half stick, straight.

The slope is not suitable for Energy management turn, but I did some nice runs in EM. The diving speed is quite high and the plane accelerates very well. The Pike seems more stable at high speed than at low speed.
The thermal flaps work well, and the plane carries the ballast easily, confirming that it has been designed to use plenty of brass, up to 75g/dm2.

The day after, I enjoyed the Pike empty, thermalling at my local slope. The plane is very gentle and forgiving with my settings. Even empty, it is able to fly fast and keep its energy.

Good point, the 2.4 Ghz (Jeti) worked flawlessly even with the carbon fuselage, at least for F3F.

Very good first impression overall, need more flying time on it, to refine the settings and learn more about the plane.

I will explore next a more forward CG, given that Samba recommendation is between 97 and 100mm.

Finally, I captured the very first flight with my helmet GoPro:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Font d'Urle, the movie ...

After the success of the short video clip about this F3F competition, I edited a long version (12 min 30 s) that you can watch here:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What a surprise ...

Funny moment when, while I was stopped at a traffic light, I saw a car with the same decoration than the one I designed few years ago for the RCRCM Strega.

Coming soon: Prodij HM

New item for 2012, Aeromod is currently working on the sucessor of the famous Prodij, created in 1999, and very popular in 60" for more than 10 years. The project is grouping several talent people like Jean-Luc Foucher, the father of the design of the successfull Allliaj HM, Loic Blanco, CAD designer, Thomas Mintzior, the 3D milling master, and Alexis Maréchal, the manufacturer and owner of Aeromod.
The idea behind this new Prodij HM is to use the latest design tools and moulding method to create something even more performant. The new main features are:

  • Central flap like the Miraj for easy landing
  • An ultra performant wing from low speed to very high speed (30 to 300 km/h)
  • Hollow core moulded wing, using monolithic skins without sandwich material (same proven and robust construction than the Alliaj HM)

3 versions will be proposed:

  • The standard version, around 750 to 800g with 400g additional ballast, for allround flying
  • The light version with 250g less for light condition flying, and using high module and spreadtow fabrics
  • The hard core version for DS, around 1100g, and able to carry 1kg of ballast

Most of the 3D CAD are ready, and the milling has started. The Prodij HM should be ready before the end of the year, just in time for Christmas :) !

Aeromod website

Weasel Limited Edition

"Luke, I am your Father !!!"

This is the sentence that came to my mind when I discovered the limited edition of the Weasel. The weasel is one of my favorite glider, and I had to stay with only one glider on a island, it would be certainly a Weasel !

I like the weasel so much that I have one regular kit in stock, just in case, and I decided to also have this Black Edition in my fleet:

As you can see on the pictures, this black edition is manually signed by Michael Richter himself ! The kit arrives very well packed, with all the accessories, except the radio components. The kit also comes with a nice sticker "Axis of Weasel".

More information on Dreamflight webpage.

Monday, September 5, 2011

F3F competition: Col du Glandon

Last week-end was the competition of le Col du Glandon. This competition is organised by my club, so I actively participate to the organisation.

Weather forecasts were very bad for the whole week-end. We however hardly tried to do something. On saturday, we managed to start a round, and completed half of the round before the rain came.

On sunday, we waited on the car park until 3pm, but the rain didn't stop so we finally cancelled the competition. this is the 4th competition of the french league to be cancelled this year. Bad season !

Here are few pictures taken during the week-end:

Pike Precision assembly

As the Pike Precision arrives with the servos installed with RDS in the wing, the assembly is limited to the installation of the elevator servos in the fuselage. The servos tray is cutted for 15mm servos, so I made another one to use with my DS6125-H. I used the same layout, that tis to say that the tray is long enough to reinforced the junction between the root and the nose. I added an hole for a switch.

once the servos tray in place, and reinforced with some fiberglass, I installed the wire looms provided. Before, I secured the soldering with some hot glue, as I usually do. The green plugs are then just glued with cyano in place.

Once the servos in place, I cutted the elevator rods at the exact length, then glued + pinched the M2 Treaded couplers to receive the metal clevises. I found one of the rod to be a bit long without guide, but hopefully, if didn't create any slop at the elevator side. I will improve this after the first flights.

The battery is made from 4 x AA POWER XX Eneloop cells, which gives 2500 mAh. This is the new eneloop generation. They should give me more flying time. They are soldered in a 2+2 configuration. The receiver is the duplex R8 from Jeti. I found a nice way to position the antenna at 90°: I use a piece of coroplast which is double taped on the receiver.

I needed around 80g of lead to do the balance at 102 mm.

When I switched on the plane to program it on my T12, I had the bad surprise to not be able to align the trailing edge of the flaps correctly. After investigating, I discoverd that my R8 Jeti receiver has a servo signal output between 1ms and 2ms, with the neutral position at 1.5ms.

According to Samba I should be able to obtain 5mm up and a lot down, using the neutral position shifting on the transmitter. To achieve it, I used the great feature of Jeti which allows you to program the receiver thanks to the Jetibox. You can, per channel, change the min and max signal output, and the neutral position.

I configured the maximum at 2.2 ms and the minimum at 0.8 ms, letting the neutral position at 1.5 ms. Like this, I retrieve the full travel that Samba promised me :) !

Despite MKS 6125 mini has less travel than other servos, I obtain the travel up and donw, as desired which is great.

Weight per component is as following:

  • Joiner: 113g
  • Right tail: 38g
  • Left Tail: 39 g
  • Right wing: 640g
  • Left Wing: 642g
  • Fuselage: 643g
Total: 2115g

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Aerial Video: Aix Les Bains / Mont Revard

Here is the onboard video taken few weeks ago from the "Mont Revard", above Chambéry and Aix Les Bains.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Pike Precision: Kit overview

The long-awaited Pike Precision is finally here. The Pike Precision is the first F3F/B model from Samba Model since the release of the Pike Brio. It is true that Samba was really busy with the outstanding success of the Pike Perfect. Let's have a look on the kit:

First particularity, wings come with RDS installed at the factory. You have the choice between MKS, JR, graupner wing servos. I choose to go with the MKS DS6125-mini. There is no servo bays on the wings. The green MPX connector is in place, and is located forward of the spar, which means that wires are probably routed through the spar.

My version is a spreadtow carbon version, for F3F. It uses rohacell, but next version will use Herex instead.
the ailerons are running out to the wingtips which is unusual, but which desmonstrated to be very efficient on the AlliajHM. We can expect a very crisp response of the ailerons. the ballast compartiment is behind the joiner box and is very long (about 27cm) and receive about 560g of brass ballast in each half wing.
The wings respectively weight 640g and 642g, ready to use. I choose a complex color scheme and Samba made it right.

The joiner is not very large, but very sick and stiff. It accepts brass ballast like most of the plane does today.

The fuselage is full carbon, including the front part of the nose. this is curious, but according to Samba, this guarantee an extreme rigidity. the compatibility to 2.4ghz is obtain by molding a flat part (~20 cm long) outside the fuselage to tape the 2.4Ghz antenna externally. Then, the nose cone is fiberglass and can be put in place without touching the antenna. The second antenna must be in the fuselage at 90°. V-tail joiner are in place. they are square, also a very nice detail. The elevator control rods are fiber glass and carbon. The ball clevise is already glued on the elevator side.

Few more words about the ballast. I don't know where is exactly located the CG, but I guess it is between the rear ballast compartiment and the joiner, and by mixing ballast, you can keep the CG at the same location. My brass ballast were not at the exact size, due to a mistake of the ballast provider. It is already at 1733g total, so the normal ballast weight is probably at 2000g.

The small pocket of accessories contains the ready made fuselage wire looms, a servo tray, 2 x M2 Treaded couplers and 2 x metal clevises

The quality is absolutely superb, the airframe is very stiff and light. The wing surfaces are cleaned of any control rod or servo bays.
The plane assembly will be limited to the fuselage servo installation. It saves lot of time as the wing servo installation is often painful to do it right and properly.

i give you a link to the post I did about the design of the Pike Precision as reminder:

Company website: Samba Model