Monday, April 23, 2012

Needle 100 assembly started

This week-end, I started the assembly of the Needle 100. I began with the part of the building that needs the most attention, that is to say the radio installation in the fuselage. It is very narrow and you need to enter the ballast bar in addition.

The equipement I selected is the MKS DS6100 for the rudder, a DS 6125-H for the elevator. Both will be using a SBEC as I have decided to go for a LiFe hyperion battery, UNREGULATED. This will be a good opportunity to test 6 MKS Servos in total with SBEC in front of each servos. The Receiver is the RG831B from JR that accept high input voltage.

For the wing servos, I mentioned initially that  I would use the DS6125 mini, but, I switched to the DS6125 glider after being advised by Thuro that they will be more adpated for DS and heavy load.

Let return to the assembly. The epoxy servo tray provided in the kit after being prepared to receive the servos, is glued in place in the fuselage, with the ballast bar fixed on it, in order or position exactly the tray, check that I can extract and insert the ballast. Then I glued it with some cyano, before to use some piece of fiberglass and resin epoxy to fix it solidely to the sides of the fuselage. The rudder servos is just behind the ballast fixation. the elevator need some wood blocks to position it higher, at the same level of the elevator command, and to not touch the bottom of the fuselage. Because the exit of the wire on the 6125-H make it very difficult to insert it in servo hole, I made the from of the servo tray removable with 2 screws. This is very convenient.

Here is a short a short video I did during my initial checking/testing of the SBEC with the LiFe battery.

MKS SBEC from Pierre Rondel on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

F3F in Panat

I unfortunately didn't attend to this first contest of the season because it was the week-end before La Muela, but my team mate and friend Matthieu Mervelet filmed and edited a very nice video about the contest in Panat (near Rodez, Midi Pyrénées area). At the agenda, low wind, sunny weather, friendly atmosphere, and a very beautiful place.

Thanks Matthieu for sharing :) !

Enjoy !

Flying Legends Air Show 2012 Trailer

Nothing to do with sailplane, but this trailer is everything I like: Nice WW2 airplanes, good trailer music, superb video sequences, beautiful editing. It reminds me the air show I saw last year near Grenoble. More info here: .


Thursday, April 12, 2012

MKS Servos Safety BEC (SBEC)

MKS is releasing an interesting device, called Safety BEC (SBEC), to be plugged on each MKS servos, and which provides a protection in the both directions:
  • First of all, it protect the servos, by providing a voltage regulation (5.0V), allowing from now to use 2S lipo battery.
  • It also protects the servos from current overloading
  •  It also indirectly protect the other servos and the receiver from voltage drops, because of high drain current that can happen if a control surface is blocked, or because of a defective servos.
There are 2 models of SBEC: One limited to 1.5A, and another one limited to 2A.

By distributing the BEC function to the servos, you also suppress the single point of failure. You can now use MKS servos with other servos that accept 2S battery. You can combine HV servos and non-HV MKS servos.

This device should be available soon through your MKS distributor/reseller. No idea about the price yet.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My Magnet holder

Tonight, I wanted to share with you my finding to build a simple magnet holder. The idea is to attach this magnet holder to the radio handle (if it is metallic, it is better). I used some silicone electric wire, the plastique body of a banana plug, a magnet coming from a Alula optional kit, and some hot glue.
It takes 30s to do it: take the silicone wire and tie a knot, and insert it in the banana plug body. The knot is block into the plug body. Put the magnet on a metallic part, put some hot glue on it, and position the end of the banana plug body on it. Suppress the excess of hot glue around, and it is finished. The benefit of attaching the magnet to the trasmitter is that you never forget it.

Monday, April 9, 2012

La Muela 2012

Easter, like each year, is the time to drive to Spain for the Eurotour F3F contest of La Muela, and also to eat some Tapas and Chuletones !

37 pilots (initially 43, but some pilots didn't present) from 4 differents countries were presents.

On thursday, we had some (few) practice on the slope in the very seldom weather flyable windows. The rest of the time we tried to protect ourself and also the plane from the showers. Ths wind was south and shift to the East at the end of the afternoon.

Friday, first day of the competition, when we arrived on La Muela, we had snow and a temperature close to zero degre. In addition, the top of the hill was in the clouds ...
Forecast was not really encourageaing, but surprisingly, clouds went up, and the sky dried a bit, allowing to start the competition in the morning. The rythm was quite high thanks to a good and prepared organization. We manage 6 rounds, started the 7th round but stopped it in the middle because of the rain and crossed wind. The interruption was more than 30 minutes, so the partial round switched to a group scoring 50/50. The second half was planned to be flown on Saturday. We hed some very fast flight with 15 crazy minutes where we got some 32 and 34, 36s.

Saturday, forecast was normally better, with more sun. In fact the sky stayed grey most of the day, with few rain drops time to time, but nothing to interrupt the contest. Wind was lower that Friday, and sometimes was dying close to the minum FAI limit, and also crossed wind from the right. We completed the second half round than proceed with the next rounds. Round 12 was difficult to finish, really at the limit of marginal conditions., then we moved to the west slope and did a last round, in very low condition and corssed wind from the left, time going from 46 to 90s.
Around 6pm, the organizers proceeded to the price giving.

Frenchies trusted the top 10 with 6 pilots placed. Best time of the competition goes to Arturo Menendez Lopez with a 32.xx

On my side, I'm pretty satisfied. I won the competition, without winning a single of the 13 rounds. But I was consistent enough during the whole competition to stay in the top 3 from round 1 to 13. The second half was pretty hard because I got very average conditions and lost precious points. The top 3 positions was changing at each round. I gave everything in round 12 to take some points over other top pilots and return in first position. The last round changed nothing for me. Conditions were very challenging, needing different strategy or turn technic at each round to take the best of the slope. I cut few times, but this is the risk when trying to anticipate too much !

I flew the Pike Precision the whole competition and really enjoyed it. The Pike is very forgiving, easy to fly and so competitive. The RDS system from Samba Model, equiped with MKS6125 mini is just perfect, a great combination.
The JR XG8 worked also great, I really liked the grip of the transmitter.

Finally this is my 4th win at La Muela (1995, 2009, 2010, 2012). 17 years between my first participation/win and today. I'm not ready to retire ;) !

A big thanks to the organizing team for this great competition !

Results and plane used:

F3J french championship

Few words to tell you that the F3J french championship 2012 will be 12 and 13th of May in Bretigny sur Orge, and is organized by the Aeroclub des Cigognes.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pike Perfection Video

This video from Helmut Röhner shows the details of the Pike Perfection, some step of the assemblye and the maiden flight.

Very instructive if you are looking closely this superb sailplane as a future acquisition.

 Thanks Helmut !

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Pike Precision

I assembled my second Pike Precision in few hours. I started Thusday evening by cutting a new plywood servo tray adapted to the DS6125-e, I finished Saturday around midday and went immediatly to the slope to maiden it.

I reused the sams CG at 102 and the same settings I had on my first exemplar. The new Pike use the same color scheme, whith only one difference, the white nose cone for better visibility at some angles. Another difference is the RDS system which is now fom Samba Model, not third party. No slope at all and very smooth in use. It use MKS DS 6125 mini in the wings and DS6125-e for the elevator. Battery is a 4 cells Eneloop 2000mAh. I initially wanted to change to something different but finally needed more capacity given that the draw current of the JR RG831B + satellite is higher than average, because of the 3 indenpendant true receivers board included in it.

Programmation, thanks to the JR XG8 was super fast. I have a different rate of snap flap depending of the flying condition as I noticed that I neede more deflection in speed mode, to compensate the "reflex" camber.

Maiden went well, and I change absolutely nothing in the settings. I really enjoyed retrieving Pike capabililties in Energy Management turns, with tons of grip and energy. The Pike Precision is definitively a super F3F machine, I like it too much.

Needle 100 DSL

I received my Needle 100 DSL few days ago. I wanted a DS plane for light to middle wind. This is the reason I sold my D60 first, because in the Alps we don't have much wind to take benefit of heavy DS plane.
Note: The Full DS version flow at 479km/h with flying weight at 5kg !!!

The moulding quality of the kit is top notch, with a very nice and visible color scheme. Wings are very stiff and robust, more than enough for my capabilities :)

What I also liked is the quality of the accessories. Servo tray is CNC machined, like the control horns. The needle 100 comes with tones of brass ballast (option).

I will equip the Needle with 4 MKS DS6125 mini in the wing, a DS6125-H at the elevator and a DS6100 at the rudder.

Assembly will start in 1 or 2 weeks, after my trip to La Muela F3F contest. Stay tuned