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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Laurac, last comp of the french league

Last week-end was the last contest of the french league which includes 13 competitions from March to end of october. Over these 13 competitions, 3 has not been validated because of the weather.
Before the last competition, scores were very close and 3 to 4 pilots could still win the league. I arrived on Friday to fly all the afternoon, and push the testing of the gyro on my Pike Precision in strong conditions before the comp, as the organiser added a local rule allowing gyros, in order to really know if it was giving a clear advantage. During that time people continue to fight on RCgroups forum without having flown at least 1 flight with a gyro onboard :) !

the wind was really strong on Friday, with an average of 70 km/h, with some cross wind, as usual for this VKR2010 slope A of Laurac. I flew the Pike alternatively with and without the gyro activated, then flew the Needle 115, then switched back to the Pike. At the beginning, I had to reduce the gain to 30 or 40% because this time the plane was oscillating at high speed. Once tuned properly, I found the plane to be very stable in trajectory. It was interresting to see the automatic correction at the ailerons when facing the wind. But something was curious. I had the impression that the plane was not accelerating. When deactivating the gyro, I could feel the speed coming back, even if the plane was a little bit less stable. My conclusion is that the high rate correction on the ailerons are making the airfoils to not working properly, and because it is our engine, its efficiency is finally worse. This is a shame because this is typically the turbulent conditions were the gyro could help.
Decision to not use the gyro for the competition was taken at the end of the afternoon, as I prefered to use a stable plane, than to take the risk to decrease the speed.
On Saturday, all the pilots met before midday, and the course has been set quickly by the organiser. We started the competition in a good wind, but not as strong as Friday.  We managed 6 rounds before clouds go down, but anyway, it was late so we had to stop. At the end of the day, I was leading the comp by a good margin, followed by Allan Cohen who flew the best time of the day with 39s, and Cedric, then Matthieu.
sunday morning, after an huge storm in the early morning, we arrived on the slope and discovered that the wind was parallel to the slope. We waited until midday, and resume the competition. But before we could complete the round, low clouds went again, and we had to cancel the round after the usual 30 minutes wait. We started again later, with very variable conditions between cross wind and thermal. At that game Matthieu won the 2 rounds we could complete before the end of the comp, piloting his FS3 very accurately and jumped from the 4th place to the 2 place of the final ranking. Allan finished 3rd and Cedric 4th. I could keep my 1st place in the ranking, and won the competition.

For the anecdote, only one pilot had a gyro on board during the whole competition, but not activated, and he got a zero after its initialisation went bad and lost both ailerons. He landed safely without too much problem but with a zero ("If you use a gyro, a zero you will get").

I flew the N115 all the week-end  despite I continue to discover it: how and when to ballast, how much compared to other plane, Snap flaps settings, reflex camber, CoG, etc ... But the Needle did the job flawlessly and I'm very satisfied. The Needle demonstrated to be be very stable in such turbulent condition with some reflex camber, keeping its grip in turn. Because of the lower thickness of the airfoil, I needed less ballast that other plane, flying with 1.1kg, then 800g, when other was at 1.5 to 1.8 kg. This win allowed me to win my 11th F3F French League over 14 years (The league has been created in 2000). Overall, 2013 has been a good season for me with the french F3F champion title, the league, and the first place at the national team qualifier.

Below is a video of 3 rounds with my Needle 115.

Needle 115 in action from Pierre Rondel on Vimeo.

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