06 October 2011

Nothing fishy about this Sharkie......

After trying them all, nothing as good as diamond white top with flashes.

The magic contrast hinge open side well sealed and mega movement
Even in the sundown light, the diamond white finish backs Sharkie magic.

Nothing better than a sun downer flight at Zigginanda!
Sharkie text developed from "The" of the "The Sharks" - note the NvS sticker. 

After sampling the Minivec first flight, it was realised that other sloper non mouldie grand plans were out the window, including an updated Ghostbuster for the Summer evening light fly sessions. The Luke and Michel Flight Pro "Flying Fish" offered all the wing area of the Ghostbuster, along with the simple uncluttered fuselage and tail end, so it was a slam dunk decision.

The weather finally permitted a mid week afternoon rush to the Inanda slope in idylic weather, yesterday. The 4:05pm Umhlanga departure through virtually no traffic hindrance (surprisingly) meant arrival at the slope 40 minutes later.

It had been decided to stay with the Andy Ellison throw options and CG at 91mm from LE. There was instant realisation on launch that is was fine for the Ellison/Leusch/Conradt nimble fingers but yours truly would be more happy closer to Luke's recommended 85mm from LE. A dive test revealed a dead straight dive that would have finished in the dam so Andy spot on but not my preference, which is for the gentle climb out.

Andy's max aileron throw (12mm up 10mm) was perfect all round, with the slight differential kicking the stall turn over nicely. Aileron low rate was wishy-washy, mode 2 pilots only need apply there ;-). Elevator on the other hand was much nicer on the low rate (5mm each way), given the critical CG setting.

The plane was sweet to fly in the conditions, obviously the slight dihedral etc precluded Minivec rachet aerobatics (not my intention) but it was still damn good and will benefit even more with a 150 to 200 grams permanent ballast on the future CG. With the light inertia, one had to pull harder over the top of the large loops or the beastie would happily float away to the sunset, inverted.  

Those who have flown Zigginanda in light conditions will know just how uncannily quiet it is so it was quite shock to hear a wap, wap, wap and a huge whoosh as a predator bird zoomed past my left shoulder, intent on having Sharkie for dinner. Luckily the predator lost interest after trying to follow though a couple of huge loops, although he gave looping a really good try.

Landing was a doddle on the Andy recommended 11mm spoileron reflex with 2mm down elevator compensation. I had gone with short servo arms for maximum resolution but would opt for longer arms, just short of the cover tops, to keep the push rod parallel with the wing surface and minimise any "going around the corner" binding on full aileron and full spoileron combined. I had previously set up the the braking only on low aileron rates so no big deal there but worth noting for those interested.

I have not one single criticism of the model - the plane was a pleasure to assemble (what little there was) and everything fitted perfectly. Having saved by using some cheapy Turnigy metal gear sub micros from Flight Pro on ailerons, I lashed out extra on a pricey HS65 MG for pitch and that, coupled with the (thanks Russ) Craig Baker trick of super glue and micro balloons on the elevator horn hole released by the oiled push rod, meant zero slop, magic! The only change I made was to lay the servo on its side on a ply platform, which meant the piano wire snake ran down and was epoxied to the side of the fuselage and left ALL the room for the ballast area. A useful change as the supplied servo tray places the servo in the center, rather than off to one side, which other reviewers have mentioned as well.

The maiden flight quickly gobbled up a half hour and I landed at 5:25pm, conscious of getting home in day light. Again the traffic waters amazingly parted and I was back in Umhlanga at 6:05pm - a useful two hour round trip but not one I would want to repeat too often so next stop Springfield in the mid week NE ;-)

An excellent buy at the asking price from Flight Pro and I am sorted for the Summer! 

03 October 2011

FPV Quadcopter flying

Here's my first recorded videos of the weekend's FPV quadcopter flying. For those who don't know, FPV stands for First Person View, where I fly from a live video feed sent from the quadcopter, which I then view through video goggles on the ground. It's as if I'm sitting inside the aircraft.

The first video was at Umhlanga Radio Flyers Club, and the second was north of Durban at Beachbums Backpackers. The wind was blowing strong this weekend so the video is a bit bumpy, but it was fun!