Firstly, a quick hello as this is my first post over here!
I've not flown anything for probably 10 years or so, but used to fly RC power and slope gliders (had a 2nd hand Flair Fledgeling with the normal wing) when I was growing up.
I somehow stumbled onto the Alula about 10 days ago while trawling the web and was immediately taken by the pretty little bird. I drooled over videos on youtube, loving the "fly anywhere" concept and thought she looked ace. I bought a kit (the only one I could find online in the UK!) along with the removable wing kit and the stock battery + servos from t9hobbysports last week after the guys at Dream-Flight pointed me in that direction. Arrived in super speedy time, so can recommend them highly.
The blue box arrived just as I found that my old McGregor radio didn't do Elevon mixing, only V-Tail, and didn't support the stick mode to put rudder and elevator on the right stick so I got a new Futaba 6EX 2.4Ghz set from my local shop. Not even built her yet and already costing me money!
She went together beautifully (I've always been bad at building models, but this was a dream!) My only troubles were gluing in the magnets for the removable wing kit (the North marks came off with the CA kicker I was using) and having to fit an oversized receiver. I couldn't get a micro receiver locally for this set, so went with the stock one that came with it (http://2.4gigahertz.com/systems/futk6900.html
). I can confirm that by removing the case this will fit in the Alula, but required a bit of carving out underneath to make room for the vertically mounted servo plugs! I'll try and post some pictures when I get home.
Finished build took me probably an afternoon + evening (but with plenty of thinking / agonising time over the cutout for the reciever!) and couldn't really have been simpler!
I don't know my AUW (will find out eventually) but needed exactly £1.21 of ballast (as a £1, 20p and 1p - didn't have any lead) beside the stock battery to balance her on the dimples, perhaps a fraction fowards (slight nose down when jigged on the dimples). This equates to nominally 18.06g (0.64oz) of ballast, which seems about in line with what I've read here.
Maiden test was on Sunday, totally still, hot day and I just had time to do a few gentle glide tests down a shallow incline at the local playing field. I was a touch worried having read here some people finding their Alulas very twitchy, but was really pleased. She did tend to want to climb and stall, but after checking the CoG when I got home I eyed up the elevons and dialled in a decent down trim to get them looking more level. I think I didn't get them strapped down quite enough when I glued the pushrods.
First proper flight was on Monday evening at the same spot into quite a decent breeze (estimate about Force 3-4), almost too much for my nerves for a first outing. Needn't have worried as she flew like an absolute charm. I only gave her pretty gentle javelin launches (never SAL'd and want a still day to practice) but she punched into the wind better than I expected and flew brilliantly. I was getting easy 15 second flights off a fairly gentle launch into the wind, probably gaining no more height than 15 or 20 feet or so then bringing her back down. She did get blown about a bit turning across the wind (but I expect this from a 6oz model!), but it was brilliant bringing her down and being able to practically hover into the wind a foot off the ground!
I had been a bit sceptical of the tiny elevator movement stated in the manual, but can confirm that she is responsive and positive with it and I'm glad I kept it dialled down. In the end I think I ended up with just shy of the 3mm recommended, but I don't feel the need to up this at all at present, perhaps as I get more flight time in.
Towards the end of my session I got braver and moved to the edge of the field where there is a bit of a step up and the seagulls looked to be getting a good small patch of lift. She punched through slightly stronger winds beautifully, hit the lift and took off vertically giving me a wonderful minute or two of flight, grinning from ear to ear!
By the end I was exhausted, my hands were shaking and my eyes aching from the concentration, but my 'loo-la had done brilliantly. What a fabulous little plane! I can't wait to get her back in the air (tonight if the rain will only hold off!) and try my hand at some SALing.
A huge thanks to all of you who have posted your experiences in this thread - I've gone through the whole thread and taken a lot of your advice on board about control settings, handling and construction, and it all really helped me get her setup right for my first outing, so hats off to you all!
If anyone is interested, I'll try and post some pictures of my build (I didn't get a full set as I had gluey fingers!) and my radio settings etc. Now just got to think of a colour scheme!