UMX Beast 3D - first impressions & maiden video
Of course, I just had to add one of these to the hangar! I got the maiden in, and a couple flights on the 5043, as well! :)
However, my hatcam battery must be on its way out. It crapped-out during the second video - which was with the 5043 on my homebrew Hyp 180 & 240 packs. Fortunately, I did get the maiden. Unfortunately, the second file got corrupted when the battery died, so I don't have any video with the 5043. Bummer, as I was flying much more aggressively during the second & third flights. I ran out of light before I could try the 5030. I'll shoot some more footage with the 5030 & 5043 when I get a chance.
Elevation: 930' AMSL
Temperature: +40 F
Wind: 2-4 MPH
UMX Beast 3D
Stock prop & throws
Homebrew Hyperion 180 mAh 2s pack
I took the plane out of the box, popped in a Hyp 180 2s pack (front of the pack just behind the cowl opening), bound it to my Futaba 10CHP, and checked for any gross misalignment. Finding none, I fired up the AS3X by blipping the throttle. I rotated the plane about its three axes of rotation, and checked for the expected control movements. Everything looked good, so I headed to the runway. It was nearly dead-calm. I thought it a bit ironic, as this was the first time I've actually wished for some wind during a maiden flight!
Takeoff & climbout:
On taxi, it was quite apparent that something was different. The plane taxied straight as an arrow hands-off! A strange feeling to those of us who fly the V1 (or any short-coupled taildragger).
I lined up & rolled into the throttle. By the time I reached half-throttle, the Beast was airborne. First thing I noticed was that the aileron trim was way off. I added quite a few clicks of right-aileron trim to compensate. Apparently, I should have checked the mechanical alignment more carefully!
The AS3X system definitely helps to keep things straight on takeoff. While shooting touch & gos, I abruptly nailed the throttle to see what would happen. I watched the rudder go hard-over to the right as the system compensated for the sudden change in torque. The tail wagged slightly, but the plane kept going straight down the runway.
After getting the trims sorted out, I worked on assessing the basic performance of the plane.
General flying characteristics:
As compared to the V1, the Beast 3D flies much more smoothly. The plane definitely goes where you point it. It tracks so well that it's sort of uncanny. Flying 'big' with the 3D looks even bigger than it does with the V1. CG changes still require a bit of elevator trim change. I did notice a few idiosyncrasies, however. First off, bank & yank turns just don't 'look right'. (Not that they ever really look right to me with any plane; rather that they look even 'less right' with the Beast 3D.) I tried a 'bush-pilot-style' forward-slip landing. The AS3X definitely got in the way during that maneuver. The plane did not behave as I expected it to. I can't quite describe what it did, but it was not natural. It's possible that I was trying to compensate for something the system was already taking care of. I'll have to work on a new technique for forward & side-slips.
The Beast 3D's nose pretty much stays put - regardless of throttle setting or airspeed. So does the bank-angle. I did not think to investigate the system's performance during a level power-off stall. I'll have to do that next time.
The original Beast is a pussycat on landing, provided the pilot remembers to control speed with elevator and descent-rate with throttle. The Beast 3D is even better. Approaches are silky-smooth, and the plane just wants to do a 3-pointer. :) As much as I love shooting touch & gos with the V1, I find them even more enjoyable with the 3D.
Performance with the stock prop:
As others have noted, the Beast 3D's thrust-to-weight is lower than the V1 when both are flown with the stock prop & a Hyperion 180 2s pack. This was readily apparent to me, as well. With a lightweight Hyp 180, the plane can easily pull vertically out of a hover - albeit not with authority. However, vertical performance is still adequate for unlimited aerobatics. I had no trouble corkscrewing the plane into the sky until it was difficult to maintain orientation - and that was near the end of the pack. That said - I definitely prefer more speed on up-lines, and I wouldn't mind a bit more thrust. But then I fly more scale/pattern aerobatics than 3D.
In the video below, a 6:30 flight pulled 157 mAh from a Hyp 180 pack. That's 87% discharged! :eek: I won't do that again! 80% discharge would have been ~6 min.
Second & third flights
UMX Beast 3D
GWS 5043 prop
Homebrew Hyperion 180 mAh 2s pack
Homebrew Hyperion 240 mAh 2s pack
Performance with the GWS 5043 prop:
My second flight was with the 5043 & Hyp 180 pack. I also moved the CG slightly aft. I noticed a definite improvement in level speed, roll-rate, and initial climb-rate. However, the speed tended to fall off considerably during long up-lines.
For the third flight, I switched to a homebrew Hyp 240 2s pack. I immediately noticed a marked improvement in sustained vertical performance, as well as level speed. Roll-rate on up-lines was very much improved, and I could do a vertical rolling climb until the plane was just a dot in the sky. Still, vertical speed seemed to be just shy of my V1 on the same prop & pack.
With the Hyp 240, a 5:30 flight used 166 mAh, or 69%. That's ~30.2 mAh per minute. With the Hyp 240, that would be ~6:20 to 80% discharge. However, that would be just 4:45 to 80% discharge with a Hyp 180 pack. :eek:
The Beast 3D tracks through basic maneuvers such as loops and rolls with surgical precision. It feels surreal to me. Similar to how a perfectly-trimmed pattern ship feels. It's much easier to hold a good up-line, however some correction is still required. I could repeatedly hold good up-lines for much longer than I have ever done with my V1 Beast.
Inverted flight required no elevator input at all. I felt like I was more aware of the AS3X system when flying inverted - likely because the plane flew exactly the same as it did when flying upright! Again, sort of surreal.
KE flight is "so easy, a caveman could do it". Just a bit of top-rudder was required for level KE flight. The plane feels uncannily uncoupled during KE. This is a good thing, although it feels a bit strange at first. I'm thinking that KE loops will be much easier with the 3D than the V1. I didn't try one though, as the visibility wasn't very good.
Snaps don't seem to be very 'snappy', although they stop immediately when the sticks are released. Moving the CG aft & increasing aileron throw should liven things up.
Conventional spins seemed to feel about the same as they do with the V1 - that is, until I tried an inverted flat-spin. I could definitely 'feel' the AS3X. When I neutralized the ailerons, the nose leveled-out immediately, and the plane settled into what appeared to be a slow-rotation inverted flat-spin. But I'm not sure if the plane was flat-spinning or just doing very tight flat-turns. Again, moving the CG aft should help.
Hovering seems to be a bit easier with the 3D than it is with the V1 - but it is far from easy. An aft CG helps. Torque-rolls are a different story! The AS3X makes it much easier to do great-looking torque-rolls. I even managed a torque-rolling tailslide and then transitioned into a torque-rolling climb - something I have never been able to do with the V1.
High-alpha is also easier, as there is much less wing-rock. It's still CG-sensitive, though. Move the CG forward a bit to far, and there is a fair amount of wing-rock - less than what there would be with the V1, but it's still there. Move the CG aft a bit, and the wing-rock all but disappears.
AS3X - first impressions:
The Beast 3D definitely feels much bigger than the V1, and it does fly as if on rails. In some ways, it 'feels' more like a 40 or 60-size plane. In other ways, it feels more like a larger version of the V1 Beast. For instance - when flying scale, pattern, or IMAC-style maneuvers, the 3D feels very big. However, when hovering or torque-rolling, it feels more like a larger version of the V1. The moments seem much larger than the scale suggests until the plane breaks out of the hover or torque-roll. When it breaks, it breaks quickly - more like the 2-oz plane that it is. But unlike the V1, it doesn't give any warning. Of course, a damping system cannot make a plane feel bigger when there is no air over the control surfaces - as has been discussed.
The AS3X system does not turn the Beast into an aileron trainer or aerobatic trainer. The Beast 3D won't replace a 3-ch trainer, aileron trainer, or even an aerobatic trainer. There is still no free lunch.
If it would have been windy, I could have provided a more in-depth assessment of the system's capabilities.
One thing is certain - AS3X will not compensate for a lack of skill! It will make maneuvers look more fluid & polished - as if they're being performed with a larger, well-trimmed pattern ship. But the pilot still has to fly the aircraft, and must know how to do the maneuvers. Those who are used to flying planes with throttle/pitch-coupling and self-righting tendencies will have a very steep learning curve if they decide to go directly to the Beast 3D - especially if they don't have any sim-time on unlimited aerobatic planes.
The Beast 3D definitely flies big - even when there's no wind. I find it considerably easier to fly smooth maneuvers with it - as compared to the V1. With the stock prop & a Hyp 180 2s pack, I find the plane to have adequate thrust, but speed is lacking for my flying style. A 5043 & Hyp 180 pack will provide a noticeable improvement in level speed, but the Hyp 180 pack seems to be overtaxed a bit - especially on up-lines. I noticed a significant improvement in sustained vertical performance with the heavier Hyp 240 2s pack.
Flying the Beast 3D definitely feels different than flying the Beast V1. Flying through the AS3X has a different feel than flying the plane directly. Some pilots may call it robotic or sim-like - just as some pilots thought early flybarless systems felt robotic or sim-like. After 28 years of flying direct-control, it will take some time for me to get used to flying through the system. I definitely need more than 15 minutes of stick-time to give a fair impression of what I think. I also need to fully explore its aerobatic behavior & fly it in some wind. So far, I like the new system, but it has a few idiosyncrasies during certain maneuvers that I need to work out.
The Beast 3D needs really good batteries - even more so than the Sbach & V1 Beast. Those who use low-C packs, cheap packs, or a series harness will experience significantly reduced performance. They will not see an improvement by switching to the 5043 unless they build or buy some high-quality 2s packs.
It was too dark to get static RPM data, as optical tachs require natural light. Household lighting systems corrupt the readings. I'll probably have to wait until the weekend to do the static RPM tests.
Here's the maiden. It's not one of my better videos, however:
I went back to the field today to re-shoot the 5043 videos. Cam was fully-charged when I left, but it crapped-out again. I managed to get some footage with the 5043 & Hyp 180 pack, but the cam died & dumped the file while I was shooting the Hyp 240 flight. Cam only runs for about 7-8 minutes on a charge. It used to run for 30 min or more. Looks like the battery is completely shot.
Here's the video with the 5043 & Hyp 180 pack. Definitely a noticeable improvement in vertical over the stock prop on the same pack. There was a bit of a breeze this time, but the Beast didn't care. Of course, you still have to fly the crosswind, but the bobbing & darting is gone. The plane feels really big in a light breeze. The wind was 90 deg, to the runway, so crosswind landings were in order.
Elevation: 930' AMSL
Temperature: +37 F
Wind: 3-7 MPH
UMX Beast 3D
Prop: GWS 5043
Pack: Homebrew Hyperion 180 mAh 2s
Since the cam was dead, I decided to just fly around & get used to the system. I figured out what was up with the KE yesterday. It was an aft CG problem. AS3X definitely masks most undesirable effects of an aft CG - however, you still have to trim for level flight. So, if the plane is nose or tail-heavy, you'll still get pitch-coupling in KE. After the cam died, I flew a few Hyp 240 packs and played with the CG a bit. It appears that the Beast 3D's natural balance is aft of the V1. So, when I put my packs in the same location as I would in my V1, the 3D was actually tail-heavy, rather than neutral. For a neutral CG, the front of my homebrew Hyp 240 packs ended up just about flush with the cowl opening. That's about 8mm forward of where the same packs end up in my V1 Beast. See the attached pic.
I figured out how to get the Beast to do a bank & yank turn. Just bank & yank- don't touch the rudder at all!
I managed to get some static RPM data on the 5030 & 5043 before it got too dark for my optical tach. As usual, each reading was taken under natural light - 30 seconds into the run on a freshly-charged pack. See below:
Elevation: 910 ft AMSL
Temp: 70 F
----------- Hyp 180 --- Hyp 240 - Thrust (g)* - Speed (MPH)**
GWS 5030 - 10,740 ---- 10,780 -- 112/113 ------ 30.5/30.6
GWS 5043 -- 8.400 ----- 8,880 ---- 96/108 ----- 32.2/36.1
*From the GWS props spreadsheet
**Calculated pitch-speed. Slippage & in-flight unloading not taken into account.
Great Report, Joel!
Thanks for the review, TP! I picked one up today. My LHS had a bunch of them. I'm really glad they came out with the BNF Basic. Thirty bucks for a charger and lackluster batteries I don't need can stay in my wallet! I'll certainly be trying the Mighty Midget from my V1 in this one. I'm looking forward to seeing how differently the AS3X flies. I've always felt that the V1 flew "bigger" than any of the other UM's. It has no real bad habits to clean up. I wouldn't ever expect the Beast to hover well, given that the cowl blocks a lot of airflow over the tail. Extra wind handling ability will come in handy here in the midwest.
Thanks for the kind words! :)
BTW - I just added some video with the 5043 & Hyp 180 pack, along with some static RPM data.
Good luck with your maiden! Let me know how it goes.
thanks for the great review
I'm a little disappointed to hear that it doesn't hover as "easy" as the promotional vid makes it look :(
Your indoor venue is HUGE
I could probably fly my park sized T28 in there lol
You're welcome & thanks for the compliment!
Yeah, we usually get three soccer courts side-by-side. It's a killer deal, too. Only 10 bucks apiece for three hours of flying - regardless of how few show up. I've heard that the regular price for one court is over $200/hr.
According to Seth from Horizon, the idea with the Beast 3D was that a 'good' 3D pilot would be able to do 3D with it - not that it would be a 3D trainer or anything like that. I think they made a mistake by using '3D' in the name. They should have spent more time emphasizing how it flies big like a 60-size ship, how it handles winds that are three times its stall-speed, how it does precision-flight like a well-tuned pattern ship. Those are The Beast 3D's strongest points, I believe.
200 an hour
It looks like it handles wind very well which is a huge benefit!
Also that it flies indoors better than V1 - Im sure i'll join the beast craze in the near future
I'm coming over to "fixed wing" from being a heli pilot for 3 yrs. now. I have a Devo 6 TX and would like to keep cost down when I go fixed wing. The Parkzone "Beast" looks great if not a bit advanced for me, but I am hesitant to spend the $170 on a (Spectrum DX6i)? TX.
To use my Devo 6 TX would mean that I but a PNP version of a plane and add a devo RX? No way the Devo is a DSM2- or DSMX- compatible Transmitter is it?
I can fly the Genius and V120D02S helis fairly well, I'm wondering if a "Beast" would be too much to start with or maybe I should get a trainer first.
Any ideas to help me crossover?
Pilots who fly aerobatic/3D CP helis & then move to fixed-wing usually have no problem with planes that lack self-righting capability, so they may not need a trainer for its self-stabilizing tendencies. However, heli pilots who are transitioning to fixed-wing do have to learn about things like stall-speed, climb speed, maneuvering speed, stalls, tip--stalls, accelerated stalls, spins, takeoffs, torque effects, P-factor, slipstream effects, gyroscopic precession, setting up the approach, using elevator to control speed & throttle to control descent-rate on approach, flaring for a landing, crosswind landings, slips, crosswind-crab approaches, dead-stick landings - and a few more things that I probably forgot to mention.
Regarding the Beast 3D - it would be pretty good jump from flying helis. It goes where you point it & keeps doing that until you tell it to do something else - much like a flybarless heli. However, it is nowhere near as damage-resistant as some of the 1s UM planes from PZ - such as the UM T-28, Pole Cat, and Sukhoi XP. The T-28 is a 4-channel trainer that can do basic aerobatics, the Pole Cat is a higher-performance aerobatic sport plane/racer, while the XP is a high-performance, purpose-built pattern/mild 3D plane.
Do you have a sim? If so, you should be able to learn most of the above in the sim - so you may be able to go right to a high-performance unlimited aerobatic plane, such as the Beast. If you don't have a sim, you may want to start with something a bit more forgiving in a crash. Regardless - I recommend getting a sim, if you don't have one already. Along with a quality transmitter & a good multi-chemistry charger, a decent sim is one of the best investments one can make in this hobby.
Regarding your tx - it is not compatible with Spektrum or other brands of 2.4 GHz receivers. The various 2.4 GHz RC systems are not compatible with each other - similar to how it is with cordless phones. For instance, you can't use a Panasonic handset with a Uniden base unit. I highly recommend moving to a mainstream tx, such as Spektrum. A DX6i at bare minimum. Preferably a DX7s or DX8. You will have much better resolution & much lower latency. Plus, you'll be able to fly any of the current & future BNF stuff. With the DX7s & DX8, you also get extensive programming, many wing & tail types for fixed-wing, plenty of model memories, a throttle-based flight-timer, high-quality switches, high-quality pots, and ball-bearing gimbals.
A quality transmitter is the #1 best investment & the most important thing to have in this hobby. It is the one thing that you use for everything you fly. An aircraft can only fly as well as the transmitter allows - and there are big differences in precision, latency, and feel between various transmitters.
The other option would be to use your existing transmitter & go with a plug & play trainer of some sort - as you mentioned. If you go that route, I highly recommend a sim, and I suggest that you start with something that is stable, forgiving, and sturdy, as larger planes are typically much less forgiving in a crash than the 1s PZ planes I noted above.
Hope this helps!
How are you getting 7 point pitch/throttle curves for helis?
|All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:30 PM.|